By Lou Forristall
What do Orcas have to do with I-1631? Nothing, yet. That’s a problem. Photo Credit: Oregon State University
I-1631, the second attempt to put a price on carbon emissions in Washington state via ballot initiative, was rejected by voters this November. 1631 sought to place a fee on carbon emissions and use the revenue to fund programs and projects related to the environment. The oil and gas industry spent $31 million to defeat it, annihilating the record in Washington for spending on a ballot initiative.
Despite what has been characterized as 1631’s “resounding defeat,” there is reason for optimism regarding climate action in Washington after 1631. Yes, it lost by about 6 points. But it performed well compared to its 2016 predecessor, I-732. 732 was a revenue neutral carbon tax that lost by almost 10 percent. That’s progress! Small progress, admittedly, but 1631 faced some major hurdles that 732 did not.
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