News

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Hello, CarbonWA friends: Today’s message launches the first of a multi-part series looking ahead to the climate politics of 2018. We’ll be covering the political prospects for legislative action, initiatives, and more!

The Landscape

The last legislative session was a golden opportunity to pass a price on carbon: both parties knew they needed to raise revenue to fund education, our efforts over multiple years proved that there is at least some interest in carbon pricing from both parties, and the looming threat of another ballot initiative — from the Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, or CarbonWA — all increased the pressure to address climate. While we think there were enough votes to pass a climate package, that didn’t come to pass for reasons we outlined in July.

Looking ahead, the prospects this legislative session look even tougher for a few reasons:

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Join ACT NOW in advocating for a price on carbon. We need help from volunteers, organizers, and activists to shape a winnable policy for 2018.

We meet monthly via Zoom (join by phone or web). There are no membership fees or requirements, just an interest in building a coalition.

Topics:

How to engage the public by discussing extreme climate events
Thursday, November 2 | 5 – 6 p.m.

In light of tragic climatic events happening around the world, many people are asking questions about how we can help the survivors and prevent future harm. These questions are interrelated with questions about current politics and climate science. Join us as we talk about the impacts of witnessing these events and how you can engage in thoughtful discussion with the public.

How to push back on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt
Thursday, December 7 | 5 – 6 p.m.

Join us for a broad discussion on how the Trump administration is impacting the EPA, and what citizens are doing to ensure our regulatory agencies continue to protect environmental health.

What’s happening with climate change policy in other states?
Thursday, January 4 | 5 – 6 p.m.

Learn about and discuss how other states are tackling climate change — including Montana, Oregon and Colorado. Learn about cooperation among states, and how grassroots organizations are shifting the conversation from “Should we address climate change?” to “How should we address climate change?”

 

To join ACT NOW calls, install Zoom to your computer or phone.

Join via web: Go to https://zoom.us/j/2590508548.

Join via phone +16699006833 and enter meeting ID (259 050 8548).

Colstrip coal plant

Hello, CarbonWA friends: Soon, we’ll be sharing our policy goals for next year and updating you on developments with other environmental groups like the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, The Nature Conservancy, Washington Tribes, and the business community as we all work toward pricing carbon. In the meantime, read on for policy updates and climate news!

Puget Sound Energy Paying off Colstrip by 2027! 

Puget Sound Energy, in a settlement agreement has agreed to pay off its debts on Colstrip by 2027, significantly earlier than the original 2045 payoff date. This is a useful step towards shutting down Colstrip units 3 and 4 (Units 1 and 2 are already scheduled to shut down in 2022). This agreement doesn’t ensure that Colstrip will shut down in 2027, and UTC commissioners will still need to approve the deal, but it makes it much easier to achieve an earlier shutdown of Colstrip units 3 and 4 because PSE will not be under as much pressure to continue to run the plants to pay off existing debt after 2027. (more…)

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The smoke has finally cleared over western Washington, but we are still in the dog days of summer. We thought this would be a good time to zoom out, look back, and look ahead.

Last August: 

In mid-August of 2016 we sent an email blast announcing news that we had received the endorsement of Republican State Senator Joe Fain (for I-732) and that we had just interviewed with the Seattle Times endorsement board. We were pretty excited at the time, because after being told we wouldn’t get a single Republican to support climate action, we had just snagged our 3rd legislative endorsement. While we proved that you can get some Republicans to the table on climate change, we haven’t been able to secure a breakthrough with the majority of the party, and it remains to be whether they are ready to lead on this issue. (more…)

Photo by Olu Eletu

Photo by Olu Eletu

Carbon Washington is mapping its future — and we invite you to consider coming along with us on the journey. We’re looking for a Treasurer to provide financial oversight and a Development Chair to assist with fundraising. Here are the descriptions of each position, along with info on how to apply:

If those roles don’t sound like you — but you’d still like to help — you can get involved by writing your legislator, subscribing to our newsletter, and donating to help us get ready for 2018. Thanks for your interest in helping us accelerate clean energy!

The legislature has passed a budget deal, and despite our efforts, it does not include a price on carbon. We did a heckuva job putting a carbon tax in play this legislative session, holding two lobby days engaging hundreds of people around the state, creating and leading the ACT NOW coalition, and placing numerous media pieces.

However, the legislature opted to raise property taxes, sales tax, and close a number of tax breaks to raise revenue. While the budget deal allocates some funding for the Clean Air Rule, and closes an oil refinery tax break. We are concerned that the legislature failed to address climate change in a major way and that the negotiations were held in secret, without time for public scrutiny.

Write to your senator and both your representatives letting them know how you feel about this. Feel free to include some or all of the points in our recent media statement. You can write your own letter or use this one to get you started. (The link automatically addresses your emails to the proper legislators.)

You might also express your strong support for a carbon tax in the 2018 legislative session. Our legislators do listen. And when they get enough input, they’ve been known to change their positions. (They like getting re-elected!)

Thanks for supporting a carbon tax — and for all you’re doing to help make it a reality.

MEDIA STATEMENT (Contact: Samara Villasenor, samara@greatworkcommunications.com, 425.255.0890)

Climate change
Washington’s children have a constitutional right to both an adequate education and a livable climate. While lawmakers took steps to fully fund K-12 education, they failed — for the third year in a row — to seriously consider bills that would substantially reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

As in 2015, House and Senate leaders missed a golden opportunity to solve two problems at once, by putting a price on carbon pollution to both reduce emissions and help meet the state’s funding needs. Democrats neglected to walk their climate talk, failing to bring any of the four carbon tax bills put forward this session to a vote in the House. Meanwhile, some key Republicans continue to espouse the false notion that a carbon tax would hurt the state economy, despite clear evidence to the contrary from multiple studies and the experience implementing a carbon tax in British Columbia.

Our grassroots members worked tirelessly during the session to educate their representatives on the urgent need to protect our climate. We are grateful for their efforts and support. We also commend Sen. Hobbs, Sen. Palumbo, Rep. Fitzgibbon, and Gov. Inslee for proposing meaningful carbon pricing policies this year.

Given the Legislature’s unwillingness to act, it’s clear that taking meaningful steps to reduce carbon pollution will be up to the citizens of Washington. Carbon Washington’s next step will be to explore potential ballot initiatives that will reduce emissions and accelerate the transition to clean energy — in an effective, equitable, economically sound, and politically viable manner. We look forward to working with civic, environmental, business, and social justice leaders to get a winning measure on the 2018 ballot.

We can no longer ignore the threat that climate change poses to our state’s people, environment, and economy. All of us have a moral obligation to protect the children of today, and future generations, from the dangerous impacts of climate change. There is no more time for delay. We need to ACT NOW.

Pitcher - Keith Johnston

Hello, CarbonWA friends: The legislative session is winding down (hopefully). This message is to thank you for contributing to our effort, to reflect on what we’ve achieved, and to provide our candid take on Olympia.

Our legislative campaign made a difference

The legislative session is down to the wire, with an agreement needed by June 30th to avoid a shutdown. We did a heckuva job putting a carbon tax in play this legislative session without much in the way of well financed lobbyists or a huge team of staff. We’ve held two lobby days engaging hundreds of people around the state (around 400 but who’s counting!). We created and led the ACT NOW coalition of nearly 40 groups joining us in calling for a price on carbon now. We’ve placed or influence numerous media stories (for highlights check us out in the Seattle TimesSeattle Business MagazineSeattle WeeklyWashington State Wire, and the Everett Herald). We’ve held meetings ourselves with many legislators and we’ve influenced the 4 carbon tax bills in play. Together, we’ve made it abundantly clear that climate advocates AREN’T GOING AWAY.

We are deep into extra innings now. It is hard to know exactly what the key negotiators are talking about behind closed doors. Our intel suggests that a carbon tax has been presented to the negotiators and officially put on the table as an option.  (more…)

NEWS RELEASE (Contact: Samara Villasenor, samara@greatworkcommunications.com, 425.255.0890)

olu-eletu-134760ACT NOW Virtual Lobby Day on June 15 will demonstrate voter support for a carbon tax to reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change and fund the state’s biennial budget.

Advocates for a Carbon Tax NOW (ACT NOW) will hold a statewide virtual lobby day on Thursday, June 15, to demonstrate to Washington state legislators that their constituents enthusiastically support a price on carbon. Audubon Washington, Carbon Washington, and the League of Women Voters of Washington are among a growing coalition of organizations and individuals that have joined ACT NOW because they want to see a carbon tax pass during this legislative session. There are currently four carbon tax bills in front of the state legislature which, if passed, would demonstrate leadership on climate change policy while offering a path forward for creating the revenue required to rewrite the state’s biennial budget.

“We have a moral responsibility to protect our birds, our children, and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change,” said Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington. “We can’t afford to wait any longer before we take action. Our state legislators have a golden opportunity in front of them to show bipartisan leadership by passing a carbon tax. Doing so would set much-needed precedent for other states to follow. This is how change starts.” (Full statement here.)

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This legislative session represents an important opportunity for Washington to lead on climate change.  Below is a simple breakdown of current bills before the legislature. If anything is passed, it may resemble a combination of one or more of these bills. Further, the legal language is not finalized, and Carbon Washington is not yet endorsing any of the bills.  To read the full language, go to http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/, and search by bill number.

Carbon Tax Bills