Taxing Greenhouse Gases 🏭

 Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Leading the environmental charge

This Tuesday, Washington state will vote on Initiative 1631. If approved, it would be the first ever state tax on carbon pollution. It would require companies to pay a carbon emission tax of $15 per metric ton. The tax would increase by $2 each year until the state’s emissions goals are met. The revenue from this tax would invest in climate and environmental projects.

Second attempt

Voters rejected a similar initiative in 2016. Environmentalists came out against that initiative because it did not set aside funding for renewable energy projects. The new initiative has the support of those groups as well as individuals like Michael Bloomberg and Bill Gates.


VOTE YES:

Herald: Editorial: Even with flaws, I-1631 provides climate solutions

The Olympian: I-1631: If no carbon fee now, when?

Supporters assert this is a necessary tax for Washington even if it is not perfect. They explain that the predicted increase in gas prices is necessary to make cleaner sources of energy a more attractive option. They also believe that the environmental projects funded by the tax will create tens of thousands of jobs and help communities reduce their fossil fuelusage.

VOTE NO:

The Daily News: Vote 'No' on I-1631

Tri-City Herald: Here’s what the Tri-City Herald thinks of the carbon fee initiative

Opponents focus on the negative financial impact for consumers. They cite analysts who estimate a 14 cent per gallon increase in gas prices and higher electricity rates. They also point out that Initiative 1631 gives exemptions to some of Washington’s worst emitters like coal power plants, aluminum steel mills, and others by classifying them as "energy-intensive trade-exposed" industries.


Will it pass?

It will be close. In a recent poll, 50% supported the bill. In comparison, the initiative that failed in 2016 had 40% support in a poll taken in the same time period. Several large petroleum companies have spent over $30 million to stop 1631. If the initiative passes tomorrow, it could inspire citizens across the US to bring up similar state initiatives in future elections.

A new tax

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