Lawmakers propose new strategy after voters nix carbon tax | 2019 Legislative Session

BY EMMA SCHER

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

OLYMPIA – After state voters soundly rejected a carbon fee initiative, climate advocates in the Legislature are trying to curb climate change with a bevy of smaller reforms.

Four environmental reform bills introduced Thursday aim to reduce food waste, tighten emission limits, set stricter fuel standards, and encourage the use of commercial car washes.

This is a change from the precedent-setting climate policy strategy of the past. Carbon tax and carbon fee initiatives were soundly rejected by Washington state voters in 2016 and 2018 respectively. But House Environmental Committee Chair Joe Fitzgibbon, D-Burien, says that the state’s commitment to the environment still makes Washington a national leader in the area.

“Carbon tax was never the silver bullet in climate change; it’s one tool in the toolbox,” he said. “It’s time to take a step back and try it sector by sector.”

This approach is similar to Governor Jay Inslee’s climate package, which proposed a wide range of environmental policies like orca conservation and an emphasis on creating jobs in the clean energy industry. This is a sharp contrast to large policy proposals of the past legislative sessions, like a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system.

“What used to be a graph on a chart is now ash on the hood of your car” from forest fires, Inslee said on Thursday. “We’re at a tipping-point moment.”

Some of the environmental issues — such as salmon recovery and reducing carbon emission — have bipartisan support, but state Democrats and Republicans disagree on where the funding will come from. Senate Minority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville anticipates that policies to lower carbon standards will raise taxes.

“We can get better if we got off the perpetual tax bandwagon,” Schoesler said Thursday.

He wants lawmakers to find solutions “that don’t tax hardworking taxpayers.”

Emma Scher is a reporter with the WNPA Olympia News Bureau.

More in News

Police respond to woman in crisis on bridge

Multiple law enforcement and emergency response agencies sprang into action in response… Continue reading

Weaver Road closed for downed power lines

The section of Weaver Road between High School Road and Moji Lane… Continue reading

Housing Kitsap officials have met repeatedly in private for months to discuss sale of 550 Madison Apartments

Commissioners for Housing Kitsap have been privately discussing potential property purchases for… Continue reading

Housing Kitsap is ready for speedy sale of 550 Madison Apartments, sales documents already signed

Housing agency received more than a dozen purchase offers for Bainbridge apartment complex.

Millerd makes the dean’s list at Iowa

Carly Millerd, a University of Iowa student from Bainbridge Island, studying in… Continue reading

Mitchell earns dean’s list honors

Olivia Mitchell of Bainbridge Island has been recognized for outstanding academic achievement… Continue reading

Bainbridge council rejects proposal to license cats

Cat owners on Bainbridge Island won’t be forced to buy licenses for… Continue reading

Most Read