Fight Heats up over Washington State Carbon ‘Fee’ Likely to Make Fall Ballot
by Hal Bernton (Seattle Times) Proponents of a Washington carbon-fee initiative showed up at the Secretary of State’s office in Olympia with more than 370,000 signatures to put their measure on the November ballot.
The signatures tally for Initiative 1631 — backed by a broad coalition that includes environmental, labor, tribal and social-justice groups — is more than a third higher than the minimum number required for a measure to be put to a vote.
Though still early in the campaign season, the measure already has galvanized high-powered energy-industry opposition.
The initiative by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy would create an escalating Washington carbon “fee” on most fossil-fuels emission, and invest the revenue in clean energy, clean water, forests and other projects that seek to slow or help cope with climate change.
The fee would start at $15 a metric ton of carbon, which would add an estimated 14 cents to the cost of a gallon of gasoline. The fee would rise annually by $2 per ton of carbon emission, plus the rate of inflation.
Initiative proponents said they opted for a carbon fee — rather than a tax — so the spending of this revenue could be tied to spending on projects that could help reduce carbon emissions from fossil-fuel combustion and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. READ MORE