Energy

Washington Governor Prepares A Carbon Tax Proposal Voters Opposed In 2016

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will unveil a carbon tax proposal later this month after voters in the Evergreen State opposed a similar measure in 2016.

Inslee, a Democrat and noted environmentalist, plans to reveal the new tax Jan. 9, according to a report Thursday from the Seattle Times. Washingtonians voted down a similar plan two years ago over disagreements about the allocation of revenue from the tax.

The plan would use some of the revenue to fund education, Inslee said in December. This would first need to pass the Democratically controlled state legislature.

Some voters wanted revenue to go back to taxpayers while others preferred dumping them on policy priorities.

Inslee rejected the notion that environmentalists poisoned that proposal. “The initiative was poorly conceived and poorly drawn,” he told Axios’ Amy Harder.

Environmental groups will ultimately fall in line on a future measure, he added.

“The environmental community is now engaged in looking at an initiative for next fall if the legislature is unable to move forward in the next session in January and February to further climate action,” Inslee said. “They’re doing a good job of having an alliance. I’ve spoken to them on several occasions.”

Washington has come under intense scrutiny in recent days over the governor’s decision to deny Coal mining company Lighthouse Resources a permit to build an export terminal to ship western coal to Asia.

Lighthouse sued Inslee and the State’s Department of Ecology Jan. 3 for allegedly violating the Constitution’s commerce clause in denying the permit for what would be America’s largest coal export terminal.

“It’s no secret that Washington state officials are philosophically opposed to coal,” Everett King, president and CEO of Lighthouse, told reporters shortly after the suit was filed. “But that does not give them legal authority to discriminate against this project and block foreign trade and interstate commerce.”

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