A tax on fossil fuel emissions is one step closer to becoming law in Washington state. An amended version of the carbon tax proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee passed the Senate Energy, Environment & Technology Committee Thursday night.
Democratic Sen. Reuven Carlyle from Seattle is the prime sponsor. He said that while the legislation behind the carbon tax is not perfect, its important lawmakers find ways to move Washington toward a greener energy strategy.
“We are a hydro state and we are proud of that but we can do dramatic steps forward in the electrification of transportation, in many other sectors,” Carlyle said.
Certain high-energy industries would be exempt from the tax. But Republican Sen. Doug Ericksen from Ferndale said the carbon tax would place a heavy burden on low and middle class families.
“Working families need a better lobbyist apparently because they sure aren’t represented by the people elected in Olympia right now,” he said.
The carbon tax bill proposes a tax of $10 per metric ton of carbon emissions, just half of what Inslee originally suggested. The tax would begin in 2019 and would increase $2 every year after 2021 until capped at $30 per metric ton.
The bill will now be heard and voted on by a fiscal committee.
Meanwhile in Oregon, lawmakers are hearing testimony on a cap and trade bill Friday that would also limit carbon emissions. The legislation would charge businesses for the right to pollute.