Occupy.com has posted a story about “6 ballot initiatives to watch in 2016.” Author Matt Stannard calls I-732 “absolutely the most important initiative in the country.”
From the story: “At the top of the list is the first and only carbon tax and rebate initiative in the United States, an idea championed by a variety of advocates across a wide ideological spectrum. Over a two-year period, Initiative 732 would institute a $25 per metric ton of CO2 consumed in the state. The proposal also reduces state sales taxes across the board by 1 percent; this makes sense because sales taxes are regressive for no socially defensible reason, while the carbon tax at least has a purpose. Even better, the proposal provides up to $1,500 per year in the form of a tax rebate to 400,000 of the lowest-income Washingtonians – the people most likely to fear a post-carbon transition for legitimate economic reasons.”
In a presentation to the Dungeness River Management Team, CarbonWA executive board member Mike Massa made the case for the I-732 revenue-neutral carbon tax and refuted the statements that the Clallam County PUD had made opposing the initiative at a previous DRMT meeting. Here are his slides in Powerpoint and PDF format.
Note the projected economic impacts:
“If there was one thing I would like to see, it would be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.”
* That’s President Obama responding to a question from Thomas Friedman about the single most important thing we can do to solve climate change, from a forthcoming episode in the new season of Years of Living Dangerously, which will begin airing in October and which focuses on their new #PutAPriceOnIt campaign. That episode will feature Carbon Washington and I-732.
“We are disappointed that the Clallam County PUD Board of Commissioners voted against supporting Initiative 732, a measure designed to accelerate the switch to affordable clean energy.”
In a guest opinion piece in the Sequim Gazette, OCA members collaborated on a response and appeal to the Clallam County Public Utility District Commissioners to rescind their opposition to the Carbon Tax Initiative, I-732. The main points:
- Most Clallam residents will keep more money in their pockets with I-732.
- I-732 will help the PUD meet its state and federal regulatory mandates.
- Most importantly, I-732 will curb fossil fuel pollution which contributes to climate change, a problem with serious social and economic consequences for Clallam County–winter floods, summer drought, wildfire, sea-level rise, and ocean acidification among them.
The piece concludes: “We have a responsibility to protect our children and future generations from these dangerous and costly threats to our community. With I-732, we can reduce taxes while protecting the environment. We urge the Clallam PUD commissioners to support I-732 and fulfill their mission to provide reliable, efficient, safe and low cost utility services in a financially and environmentally responsible manner.”
Catastrophic weather events seem to capture more headlines with each passing year–including events which have cut off power or water to PUD customers. The time for “business as usual” is past. We will continue to educate the PUD Commissioners and PUD customers about the advantages of I-732 to our community, our state, our nation, and the world at large. Climate change is not going away, and these issues aren’t either–in fact, they become more compelling with each passing day.
On May 9, members of OCA presented this statement to Clallam County PUD commissioners regarding their ill-considered opposition to I-732, the state carbon-tax initiative that will be on the ballot in November.
In spite of substantive refutations from OCA, OCA members, and a representative from the I-732 campaign, pointing out that I-732 will have very little economic impact on Clallam County and will help rather than hurt those most strapped to pay their electric bills, the PUD commissioners passed their anti-732 resolution anyway.
OCA will continue to educate the PUD commissioners and the public on these issues. Sitting back and doing nothing will not make the climate crisis go away.
Thanks to individuals and groups such as OCA across the state, the CarbonWA revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative 732 has met its signature threshold and stands before the state legislature, who can either enact it, propose their own version, or pass it on to the voters untouched. OCA, with the consensus of our membership, has sent this letter to the legislators from the 24th District in support of CarbonWA. We await their attention to this matter of utmost import to our state, nation, and planet. Please consider sending a letter of your own, so Washington State can step on up into a clean-energy future!
Letters can be addressed as follows:
Senator Jim Hargrove: email@example.com or PO Box 40424, Olympia 98504-0424
Representative Kevin Van de Wege: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 40600, Olympia 98504-0600
Representative Steve Tharinger: email@example.com or PO Box 40600, Olympia 98504-0600