Reducing the state’s carbon emissions has been a focus of the governor and several lawmakers since before the legislative session began in January. On Monday, Sen. Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam offered an alternative plan that would benefit the environment, K-12 education, and rural economic development.

Sen. Jim Hargrove, D- Hoquiam said“What I did was introduced a bill that put a little different spin on the whole idea. It would take the carbon pricing program and make a reinvestment in rural economic development to try to put more people back to work in our lumber mills by adding an incentive payment for wood that would go into those lumber mills. So I think it kills two birds with one stone and will focus on one of our biggest needs which is more jobs in rural areas.”

Money generated by the auction of carbon pollution would also add $500 million to invest in our state’s K-12 education system, and would create a Working Forests and Local Mills economic development program. The legislation includes protections ensuring costs won’t be passed on to consumers at the gas pump.

Nicole Vukonich reporting in Olympia.