WA lawmaker admits 'cyclists pollute' line went too far

WA lawmaker admits 'cyclists pollute' line went too far

WA lawmaker admits 'cyclists pollute' line went too far

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by Evan Sernoffsky, kgw staff

NWCN.com

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 4:48 AM

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington lawmaker, Rep. Ed Orcutt (R-Kalama), admitted Monday that his comments regarding a proposed bicycle tax may have been a little over the line.

Orcutt said last week in an email to bike shop owner Dale Carlson that, “since CO2 is deemed a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

More: WA rep says tax bike sales, cyclists add to pollution

After the email made the rounds online, causing an uproar within the Northwest bike community, Orcutt changed his tone.

In a statement to KGW’s sister station KING5 in Seattle, Orcutt writes, “First of all, let me apologize for the carbon emissions line of an e-mail which has caused so much concern within the bicycle community. It was over the top and I admit is not one which should enter into the conversation regarding bicycles.”

The $25 bike fee in question was announced by House Democrats two weeks ago as part of an overall package that would raise a reported $9.8 billion over the next decade.

More: Wash. Dems pitch bike sales tax for roads

On Monday, Orcutt said that he does not propose any taxes, especially carbon taxes, on bicyclists. He said he supports very little in the Democrat’s tax proposal. However, Orcutt reiterated that he was for the tax on bicycles in order to pay for bicycle infrastructure.

“Although I have always recognized that bicycling emits less carbon than cars, I see I did a poor job of indicating that within my e-mail. My point was that by not driving a car, a cyclist was not necessarily having a zero-carbon footprint,” Orcutt said.

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