Exciting news to share today: The Alliance for Jobs & Clean Energy, of which NPI is a member, has announced that it will be launching an initiative to the people for 2016 to cap emissions of pollutants that have given our planet an increasingly bad fever. The initiative will appear on the November 2016 statewide ballot in Washington.
According to the Alliance, if enacted into law by the voters of Washington, “the initiative would build on the state’s recently announced Clean Air Rule by enforcing existing global warming pollution reduction targets, charging the largest emitters a fee for each ton of carbon pollution they emit. The funds will be invested in accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy and addressing the impacts of carbon pollution on our air, land and people.”
“Washington has long been a national leader on technology innovation, from airplanes and software, to energy efficiency and renewable energy,” said Brenna Davis, Chair of Washington Business for Climate Action, during an Alliance press conference today at EnWave Seattle. “Today we continue in that spirit of innovation, resolving to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy in a way that supports affected businesses and communities.”
The Washington State Legislature considered cap and trade legislation proposed by Governor Jay Inslee this past session, but failed to make much progress due to Republicans’ unwillingness to act on pollution accountability. Neither chamber took a vote on Inslee’s legislation, though the Democratic-run House gave it serious consideration. (The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, didn’t bother.)
Today’s announcement is great news for our region’s progressive movement. It shows a serious commitment to action. It means there will be a serious, credible campaign next year to get our pollution problem under control.
Washington needs to be a leader in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other climate crisis-causing air pollutants. If Washington’s elected representatives won’t act, voters should be given the chance to.
NPI strongly supports the decision to go to the statewide ballot in 2016. We’ve been calling for the Alliance to launch a 2016 initiative for months, here on the Cascadia Advocate and in other forums. We’re very, very pleased that the Alliance is moving forward, and we will be fully supporting its efforts to develop a strong, robust initiative that does not suffer from the fatal flaws of CarbonWA’s I-732.
How we approach this problem matters, as our Alliance partners have noted.
“Because the impacts of climate change are not distributed evenly, it’s crucial that the experience and knowledge of communities on the frontlines are now part of creating the solutions,” said Peter Bloch Garcia, Executive Director of Latino Community Fund. “Addressing climate change can also support environmental and economic equity for communities of color and people with lower incomes.”
From now until the new year, the Alliance’s initiative proposal will be in the development phase. It is our hope that it will be developed using an open source-style development model, so Alliance members and interested citizens can contribute to making the text as good as it can be.
When January 2016 arrives, it’ll be time to file the final text with the Secretary of State, and then, soon after, there will be a kickoff event to launch the signature drive. Signatures will be due the Friday following Independence Day 2016. The Alliance will need to collect around 320,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.