Vote NO on I-2117 website
Screenshot of the new NO on I-2117 website

The broad, diverse, and grow­ing coali­tion to defeat Ini­tia­tive 2117 today unveiled a new web­site as well as a launch video lay­ing out the case for vot­ing NO on Bri­an Hey­wood and Jim Wal­sh’s attempt to repeal the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act this autumn.

“Wash­ing­ton State can’t afford I‑2117,” the coali­tion explained. “It would allow more pol­lu­tion and cut invest­ments in com­mu­ni­ty pri­or­i­ties across our state like trans­porta­tion and tran­sit ser­vice and pre­vent­ing wildfires.”

“If I‑2117 pass­es, it would allow more pol­lu­tion and shift the bur­den of pay­ing for the impacts of pol­lu­tion onto com­mu­ni­ties, work­ers, and fam­i­lies — while cut­ting invest­ments in clean air and water, trans­porta­tion, wild­fire pre­ven­tion, and a lot more.”

Wash­ing­to­ni­ans from across the Ever­green State are fea­tured in the video urg­ing a no vote, includ­ing from Cen­tral and East­ern Wash­ing­ton. (My favorite is Jason Shee­han, a farmer from Sun­ny­side, who spoke to why I‑2117 is bad for agriculture.) 

You can watch the video here:

NPI is proud to have made a con­tri­bu­tion to this most excel­lent project: we donat­ed the domain for the coali­tion’s new web­site, We’re delight­ed it’s now in use.

I‑2117’s poten­tial for destruc­tion is incred­i­bly severe, and that’s why defeat­ing it this autumn is a top pri­or­i­ty for NPI and many oth­er orga­ni­za­tions that care about Wash­ing­ton’s future. On a destruc­tive­ness scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most destruc­tive, I‑2117 is a ten in our book, because of the spi­ral of destruc­tion it would create.

I‑2117 does­n’t just seek to repeal the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act — it seeks to pre­vent law­mak­ers from rein­stat­ing a cap and invest sys­tem for at least sev­er­al years. 

Take a look at the text of the initiative:

NEW SECTION. Sec 1. All state agen­cies are pro­hib­it­ed from imple­ment­ing any type of car­bon tax cred­it trad­ing, also known as “cap and trade” or “cap and tax” scheme, includ­ing the cli­mate com­mit­ment act pre­vi­ous­ly cod­i­fied as chap­ter 70A.65 RCW. This pro­hi­bi­tion applies whether the result­ing increased costs are imposed on fuel recip­i­ents or fuel suppliers.

If I‑2117 were to pass, it would be unchange­able except by a two-thirds vote of the Leg­is­la­ture for two years, in accor­dance with Arti­cle II of the Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion. Unless Democ­rats also gained very large majori­ties, Repub­li­cans would have the votes to pre­vent this lan­guage from being tak­en out of state law for mul­ti­ple sessions.

This is by design. 

Decep­tive­ly, when Bri­an Hey­wood and Jim Walsh turned in sig­na­tures for I‑2117, Hey­wood said: “We prob­a­bly agree with our friends over here on the left quite a bit… in that we want the plan­et to be clean. We want a safe and clean envi­ron­ment. We don’t want pol­luters to get off scot-free.” 

We have his remarks on video — take a look:

Con­sid­er that Hey­wood and Wal­sh’s I‑2117 would (a) repeal the Cli­mate Com­mit­ment Act, (b) bar sim­ple majori­ties of the Leg­is­la­ture from rein­stat­ing it, and (c) pur­pose­ly not replace it with any­thing. Hey­wood and Walsh do not have their own cli­mate action plan. They’ve offered noth­ing. We’ve got Hey­wood on record say­ing “we don’t want pol­luters to get off scot-free” — but I‑2117 has been explic­it­ly writ­ten to elim­i­nate Wash­ing­ton State’s main tool for ensur­ing they don’t get off scot-free. 

Hey­wood has also told reporters he’s not a politi­cian, so he’s off the hook with respect to propos­ing an alter­na­tive pol­i­cy. (Sor­ry, Bri­an, that’s not how this works. You decid­ed to become a politi­cian when you sunk mil­lions of dol­lars into a slate of ini­tia­tives.)

Pro­po­nents’ decep­tive­ness does­n’t stop there.

Hey­wood and Walsh speak loud­ly of get­ting rid of a “hid­den” gas tax. But it’s essen­tial to know that I‑2117 does­n’t require oil com­pa­nies to low­er their prices. 

There is no lan­guage in the ini­tia­tive that requires the fos­sil fuel indus­try to give Wash­ing­to­ni­ans a price break on gaso­line going for­ward.

So, to recap: I‑2117 would roll back progress we’ve made on clean­ing up our air, water, and soil. It would elim­i­nate bil­lions of dol­lars of invest­ments in clean ener­gy and mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion infra­struc­ture. And it won’t do what its back­ers claim it will. 

It deserves not just to be reject­ed, but emphat­i­cal­ly rejected.

Join us in vot­ing NO on I‑2117. Let’s send this awful mea­sure to the state’s polit­i­cal grave­yard of bad ideas where it belongs. 

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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