Washington State Legislature Must Act Now on Climate Change

NEWS RELEASE (Contact: Samara Villasenor, samara@greatworkcommunications.com, 425.255.0890)

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ACT NOW Virtual Lobby Day on June 15 will demonstrate voter support for a carbon tax to reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change and fund the state’s biennial budget.

Advocates for a Carbon Tax NOW (ACT NOW) will hold a statewide virtual lobby day on Thursday, June 15, to demonstrate to Washington state legislators that their constituents enthusiastically support a price on carbon. Audubon Washington, Carbon Washington, and the League of Women Voters of Washington are among a growing coalition of organizations and individuals that have joined ACT NOW because they want to see a carbon tax pass during this legislative session. There are currently four carbon tax bills in front of the state legislature which, if passed, would demonstrate leadership on climate change policy while offering a path forward for creating the revenue required to rewrite the state’s biennial budget.

“We have a moral responsibility to protect our birds, our children, and future generations from the adverse effects of climate change,” said Gail Gatton, Executive Director of Audubon Washington. “We can’t afford to wait any longer before we take action. Our state legislators have a golden opportunity in front of them to show bipartisan leadership by passing a carbon tax. Doing so would set much-needed precedent for other states to follow. This is how change starts.” (Full statement here)

“We heard a lot of frustration and outrage from individuals, business leaders, and local political leaders on both sides of the political aisle, along with pledges to take action, following the withdrawal of the U.S from the Paris Agreement. We’ve all talked the talk. Now it’s time to walk the walk,” said Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of Carbon Washington. “Our elected officials have an obligation to pass legislation that will reduce carbon pollution that causes climate change. We cannot wait any longer; we must take action now.”

(Full statement here)

“The people of Washington deserve a bipartisan effort to pass a Carbon Tax NOW,” said Ann Murphy, President of the League of Women Voters of Washington. “Our state is already experiencing the impacts of climate change in record high temperatures, more frequent droughts and wildfires, and more flooding and storm water overflows. This is requiring costly funding for more water infrastructure projects and firefighting equipment and personnel.”

Washingtonians are ready for a price on carbon

Last fall, with the carbon tax measure Initiative 732 on the statewide ballot, voters in Washington were the target of the largest climate change education effort ever in the state. While I-732 did not pass, exit polling showed 69 percent of voters support Washington state taking action to reduce carbon pollution.

The campaign also demonstrated bipartisan support for climate action. In addition to endorsements from dozens of Democratic leaders, I-732 received endorsements from Republicans including three sitting state senators, former U.S. Senator Slade Gorton, former state Senate majority leader Bill Finkbeiner, and former Attorney General Rob McKenna.

Today, many states are looking at I-732 as a model and we expect a nationwide carbon pricing movement to take root in the coming years. The four carbon tax measures in front of the legislature reflect the state’s readiness to put a price on carbon, incentivize clean energy alternatives, and create new economic opportunities.

Inaction costs much more

Washingtonians are already paying for the impacts of fossil fuel pollution through increased health problems, wildfires, drought, storm damage, coastal destruction, and more. If no action is taken to reduce emissions, potential costs to our state from climate change impacts are projected to reach $3.8 billion per year by 2020.

Walk the Walk – Register for June 15 ACT NOW Virtual Lobby Day

On June 15, Virtual Lobby Day participants will call their legislators to urge them to pass a carbon tax during the special session ending on June 30. Our representatives in Olympia must hear that there is support for a carbon tax, and that they have a historic opportunity to reduce pollution that causes climate change and position our state to prosper in a low-carbon future. Learn more about ACT NOW and register for the June 15 Virtual Lobby Day here.

About ACT NOW

ACT NOW (Advocates for a Carbon Tax NOW) is a growing coalition of individuals and more than 30 organizations including the American Sustainable Business Council, Audubon Washington, Carbon Washington, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, Conservatives for Environmental Reform, League of Women Voters of Washington, and others that want to see a carbon tax pass during this legislative session. Learn more and get involved at www.actnowonclimate.org/.

120+ carbon tax supporters lobby Washington’s state legislators

Concerned citizens fanned out across the State Capitol campus the afternoon of April 20. Their mission: Contact as many senators and representatives as possible. Their message: “We need an effective and equitable carbon tax — and we need it this session!”

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About 70 people — from Carbon Washington, Audubon Washington, the League of Women Voters and other groups in the ACT NOW coalition — visited legislators and aides in person. Another 60 or so made phone calls from around the state. When the day was over, every legislator in Olympia had received information about ACT NOW and the need to pass a carbon tax this year.

Four bills that include a carbon tax are now before the legislature. The most recent is SB 5930, introduced by Sen. Guy Palumbo. You can read an analysis of this bill by Carbon Washington.

Carbon taxes have also been in the news in recent days:

ACT NOW is not taking a position on any specific policy, but wants to help ensure that legislators put a price on carbon in Washington State this year.

ACT NOW coalition supports a price on carbon

Taxing polluters could promote renewable energy, help keep our air and water clean, provide tax relief, and fund healthy forests and vital state services.

jason-blackeye-138263Climate Change is a moral and economic threat to Washington State. One of the most efficient and effective policies to reduce carbon emissions is a price on carbon pollution. We urge the Washington State legislature to enact a price on pollution as a measure to uphold our obligation to future generations.

Pricing carbon pollution this legislative session can and must be bipartisan including input from Republicans, Democrats, business leaders, social justice leaders, climate policy experts, and the public.

A price on carbon pollution will generate revenue that could be used to provide tax relief for citizens, in particular, low-income communities, funding for healthy forests and clean water, acceleration of the clean energy economy and vital state services.

The ACT NOW coalition supports the passage of a broad-based price on carbon pollution that efficiently and equitably meets our obligation to reduce pollution and fulfill Washington’s core responsibility to protect our environment and our kids, now and in the future.

ACT NOW (Advocates for a Carbon Tax NOW) is a grassroots non-partisan coalition.

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