Another City Light Setback

High court reverses greenhouse gas ruling.

Seattle City Light lost another legal challenge to its billing/spending practices when the State Supreme Court ruled today that city taxpayers and not just utility ratepayers must foot costs of reducing greenhouse emissions, reversing a lower court ruling. The decision follows earlier rulings against City Light for spending utility money for non-utility purposes and illegally shifting the cost burden of street lighting from ratepayers to general taxpayers. In today's ruling, the high court said, "We hold that combating global warming is a general government purpose, albeit a meritorious one, [but] not a proprietary utility purpose. Therefore, such mitigation expenses must be borne by general taxpayers rather than utility ratepayers." Full ruling here.

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