In Our View: Vote ‘No’ on Carbon Fee

Efforts to limit pollution commendable, but Initiative 1631 is too problematic

… The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends a “no” vote on Initiative 1631. …

While we support efforts to promote clean energy, it is reasonable to ask whether $2.3 billion can be spent on projects that actually pass a cost-benefit analysis. Raising money for effective projects is a worthy goal; raising money simply to target polluting industries can lead to unnecessary expenditures and can be harmful to industry in the state.

The question then becomes one of costs to consumers. State officials estimate that residential natural gas prices would increase by about 10 percent in 2020, gasoline prices would increase between 6 percent and 9 percent, and electricity costs also would rise. Industries would pay the bulk of I-1631’s fees, but the pocketbooks of average Washingtonians also would feel the impact. …

Because of that, and because of the urgency presented by climate change, we are intrigued by efforts to reduce carbon emissions. But Initiative 1631 has too many problems to warrant a recommendation.

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