Policy & Economics
Policy & Economics

A color-coded guide to the carbon tax bills in the 2018 legislature; CarbonWA also has a matrix here. And this is other climate legislation of interest in the 2018 legislative session.

It appears that all of our work in Olympia may be making a difference! While it is dangerous to be overconfident, there is a decent chance that a carbon tax bill will pass in the legislature this session. There are four main carbon tax bills pending: SB 6203 (the Governor’s bill), SB 6096 (Senator Ranker’s bill), HB 1646 (Rep. Fitzgibbon’s bill) and SB 6335 (Senator Hobbs’ bill). You may review a summary of some of these bills here.
We have recently learned that the Governor’s bill is the front-runner and has the greatest chance of passage. 350 Seattle generally supports the concept of a price on carbon but we urge the legislature to make important adjustments to the bill as noted below. This weekend, before the bill is finalized, please call or email the members of the Senate Energy, Environment and Technology Committee (listed here) to ask for the changes noted below. If you email them, you may copy and paste the concerns below. If you call, you may wish to pick the concerns from below that are most important to you.
In addition, if you are in the district of any of the following sponsors of the bill (contact info here) please contact them as well regarding the changes noted below:
Senator Ranker
Senator Nelson
Senator Pedersen
Senator Frockt
Senator Billig
Senator Rolfes
Senator Keiser
Senator Liias
Senator Hunt
Senator Chase
Senator Saldana
Senator Kuderer
1. The Governor’s carbon tax starts at $20/ton, plus 3.5% per year, plus inflation. Our position is that the tax should be at least $25/ton and should go up at least 7%/year, plus inflation.
2. Under both the Governor’s bill and Ranker’s bill, all utilities may retain in a separate account either 100% or 70% of the carbon tax they owe and may use it instead for clean energy and energy efficiency programs. Our position is that utilities should not be allowed to retain any part of the tax unless the investment is in non-fossil fuels. For example, a coal utility should not be allowed to invest in gas and retain the tax by arguing that it is cleaner than coal. A provision holding utilities accountable to carbon-reduction targets must also be included in the bill.
3. The Governor’s bill contains exemptions for the sale of biogas and biodiesel, renewable diesel and cellulosic ethanol. These exemptions should apply only when the party applying for the exemption shows significant carbon reductions of at least 50% from fossil fuels as verified by third-party lifecycle analysis. 
4. The Governor’s bill is insufficient in terms of addressing a just transition, disproportionately affected communities as well as low-income individuals. We would like to see more support for those in the labor community who will need help transitioning to a green economy, a specific pot of money for disproportionately affected communities, and financial support for low-income communities who cannot afford the tax.
5. The Governor’s bill prevents local communities from passing their own carbon tax legislation. We believe local  communities should have the right to raise revenue in their own communities for clean energy and for addressing the changing climate.
6. The targets in a carbon tax need to be stronger than is found in the existing bills — and should be based on climate science.  They should ensure that emissions of carbon dioxide in the state decrease by at least ninety-one percent below 1990 levels. 


Thank you all for your work, your activism, and your dedication to the climate!


In addition to the Civic Action Team (sign up below!), the Policy Workgroup has  a Trade Policy/MMT team, and the Beyond Capitalism group.

Civic Action Team

State and local action are more important than ever under the Trump administration, and Washington state must lead the fight.

350 Seattle Civic Action Teams (CAT’s) focus on direct lobbying of elected officials to push them to advance bold climate legislation, and to hold them accountable to the principles of climate justice.

We are building CAT’s across the state that regularly engage with local elected representatives. Join our community and help expand the movement pushing politicians for aggressive climate action.

How You Can Support Us:

  • Attend one of 350 Seattle’s public events to learn about specific legislation or proposals that we need people power to advance or block
  • Share our public events with your friends and neighbors
  • Sign up for our email list to learn about and participate in upcoming civic action campaigns
  • Help lead a civic action team in your district

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