Success: Carbon Emissions Fee WA I-1631 is on the 2018 Ballot

Thanks to a dedicated group of petitioners, Washington voters will have the opportunity to vote for a $15-per-ton carbon tax on the November 2018 ballot. This fee would be implemented in January of  2020, and will increase by $2 annually until the state meets its 2035 emissions goals of achieving a 20 million metric tons reduction and is moving toward the 2050 goal of a 50 million metric ton reduction. The revenue generated would fund: 1) air quality and energy programs and projects, (2) water quality and forest health projects, and (3) investments related to communities. A Public Oversight Board would also be established under this measure. The board would be required to negotiate with any tribes potentially impacted by the projects receiving funding from this measure. Tribes and board would be required to reach a consensus on funding each of the proposed projects. A Clean Air and Clean Energy Panel and a Clean Water and Healthy Forests Panel would be created to make recommendations to the Public Oversight Board. The full text of the ballot measure can be found here. 

This measure isn’t perfect, but it is a bold shift in our priorities. This measure will create structures and provide necessary funding for deeper action. The ripples of passing this citizen’s initiative will signal the rest of the nation that the people will not not stand for government complacency on climate change. After passage, future revisions of this measure should focus on its shortfalls, such as in exempting some of the biggest polluters. Current exemptions to the tax include: fossil fuels supplied to a light and power business to generate electricity; fuel sales to the state, government agencies, the military, and other state interests; aircraft and maritime fuels; fuel such as aircraft fuel, diesel, and biodiesel when used for agricultural purposes; and pollution emissions from a coal closure facility, which is defined as “any facility that generates electricity through the combustion of coal and is legally bound to comply with emissions performance standards as set forth in RCW 80.80.040 by December 31, 2025; or is legally bound to cease operation by December 31, 2025.”

Opponents argue that this tax will increase the financial burden on families by $530 annually by 2029. However, as new projects are funded to transition the state to clean renewable sources of energy, and to support low-income families, that cost can be buffered. In 2016, 59.25% of voters rejected a similar carbon tax offered by WA I-732, so it will take a large information campaign to pass this precedent-setting measure in Washington state. November is approaching. To get involved with the YES on I-1631 campaign, visit their website and sign up to volunteer. Even one hour a week can make a difference.

WA I-1631 is supported by:
Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy
Community to Community
RE Sources for Sustainable Communities
The NW Central Labor Council (AFL-CIO)
Riveters Collective
350 Bellingham, Seattle, Eastside, and Spokane
Safeguard the Southfork
Jobs with Justice
Mt Baker Group Sierra Club
Washington Governor Jay Inslee
AFT Washington AFL-CIO
AIA Seattle
Arlington Electric & Solar
Artisan Electric
Asian Pacific Islander Coalition of WA (APICWA)
Association of Washington Business
Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy field director Ahmed Gaya
American Sustainable Business Council
Audubon Washington
A&R Solar
Washington State Budget & Policy Center
Carbon River Doors
Carbon Washington
Casa Latina
Centro Latino
Clean Air Clean Energy Washington
The Climate Reality Project
Climate Solutions
Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ)
Conservation Northwest
Democrats from the 5th, 10th, 17th, 18th, 27th, 36th, 40th, and 45th legislative districts
Ecotech Solar
Earth Ministry
Edmonds Bicycle Advocacy Group
Faith Action Network
Fire Mountain Solar
Front and Centered
Fuse Washington
Future Wise
Got Green
Green Party of Washington
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
King County Young Democrats
King County Academy of Family Physicians
The Lands Council
Latino Community Fund of Washington State
Makah Indian Nation
Mothers Outfront Mobilizing for a Livable Climate
Methow Valley Citizens Council
Spokane NAACP
One America
Office & Professional Employees International Union
Our Revolution Thurston
Protect our Winters
Progreso Latino Progress
Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA)
Puget Sound Sage
Puget Sound Solar
Quinault Indian Nation
Resources for Sustainable Communities
Samish Indian Nation
Skagit Conservation Education Alliance
Seattle Indivisible
Sierra Club
Solar Installers of Washington (SIW) and Solar Strong Washington
Spark Northwest
Spokane County Democrats
Students for the Salish Sea
Sun Path Electric
Surfrider Foundation
Tahoma Audubon Society
Transportation Choices
Transit Riders Union
Tulalip Tribes Natural Resources
Union of Concerned Scientists
Unitarian Universalist Church of Spokane
United States Representative from Washington, Pramila Jayapal
Washington Conservation Voters
Washington Environmental Council
Washington Interfaith Power & Light
Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility
Washington Business for Climate Action
Washington Can
Western Solar Renewable Energy Solutions
Whidbey Environmental Action Network
The Wilderness Society

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