Washington State Carbon Tax Fail After Big Oil Campaign

Washington state rejected a ballot initiative to create the first carbon tax in the United States, a tally of votes showed Nov. 7, after an oil industry campaign argued it would hurt the economy.

The Carbon Emissions Fee and Revenue Allocation Initiative, known as Initiative 1631, would have imposed a $15 fee on each metric ton of carbon emissions, rising $2 a year until the state’s 2035 emissions target is met.

With about two million votes counted Nov. 7, the “no” votes led with 56.32%.

The carbon fee aimed to generate $2.3 billion over five years for clean energy and air programs, according to a state analysis. The oil industry was expected to feel most pain because transport contributes 43% of greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state, a 2016 state report said.