70A.65.200  <<  70A.65.210 >>   70A.65.220

Linkage with other jurisdictions.

(1) Subject to making the findings and conducting the public comment process described in subsection (3) of this section, the department shall seek to enter into linkage agreements with other jurisdictions with external greenhouse gas emissions trading programs in order to:
(a) Allow for the mutual use and recognition of compliance instruments issued by Washington and other linked jurisdictions;
(b) Broaden the greenhouse gas emission reduction opportunities to reduce the costs of compliance on covered entities and consumers;
(c) Enable allowance auctions to be held jointly and provide for the use of a unified tracking system for compliance instruments;
(d) Enhance market security;
(e) Reduce program administration costs; and
(f) Provide consistent requirements for covered entities whose operations span jurisdictional boundaries.
(2) The director of the department is authorized to execute linkage agreements with other jurisdictions with external greenhouse gas emissions trading programs consistent with the requirements in this chapter. A linkage agreement must cover the following:
(a) Provisions relating to regular, periodic auctions, including requirements for eligibility for auction participation, the use of a single auction provider to facilitate joint auctions, publication of auction-related information, processes for auction participation, purchase limits by auction participant type, bidding processes, dates of auctions, and financial requirements;
(b) Provisions related to holding limits to ensure no entities in any of the programs are disadvantaged relative to their counterparts in the other jurisdictions;
(c) Other requirements, such as greenhouse gas reporting and verification, offset protocols, criteria and process, and supervision and enforcement, to prevent fraud, abuse, and market manipulation;
(d) Common program registry, electronic auction platform, tracking systems for compliance instruments, and monitoring of compliance instruments;
(e) Provisions to ensure coordinated administrative and technical support;
(f) Provisions for public notice and participation; and
(g) Provisions to collectively resolve differences, amend the agreements, and delink or otherwise withdraw from the agreements.
(3) Before entering into a linkage agreement under this section, the department must evaluate and make a finding regarding whether the aggregate number of unused allowances in a linked program would reduce the stringency of Washington's program and the state's ability to achieve its greenhouse gas emissions reduction limits. The department must include in its evaluation a consideration of pre-2020 unused allowances that may exist in the program with which it is proposing to link. Before entering into a linkage agreement, the department must also establish a finding that the linking jurisdiction and the linkage agreement meet certain criteria identified under this subsection and conduct a public comment process to obtain input and a review of the linkage agreement by relevant stakeholders and other interested parties. The department must consider input received from the public comment process before finalizing a linkage agreement. In the event that the department determines that a full linkage agreement is unlikely to meet the criteria, it may enter into a linkage agreement with limitations, including limits on the share of compliance that may be met with allowances originating from linked jurisdictions and other limitations deemed necessary by the department. A linkage agreement approved by the department must:
(a) Achieve the purposes identified in subsection (1) of this section;
(b) Ensure that the linking jurisdiction has provisions to ensure the distribution of benefits from the program to vulnerable populations and overburdened communities;
(c) Be determined by the department to not yield net adverse impacts to either jurisdictions' highly impacted communities or analogous communities in the aggregate, relative to the baseline level of emissions; and
(d) Not adversely impact Washington's ability to achieve the emission reduction limits established in RCW 70A.45.020.
(4) The state retains all legal and policymaking authority over its program design and enforcement.
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