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The Politically Messy Road to Carbon Dioxide Limits (Guest: Todd Myers)

June 10, 2021

Washington state legislators passed one of the most stringent limits on carbon dioxide emissions in the country, but a line-item veto by the Governor may undo it all.

Fearing higher energy prices, voters in Washington state have twice rejected initiatives that would impose limits on fossil fuel use. Ignoring the majority of voters' wishes, Democrats who control the legislature imposed a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade plan contingent on an increase in the gas tax (which would have to be passed by a supermajority). This was part of a grand bargain to get moderate Democrats to sign onto legislation they had previously rejected. Gov. Inslee (D), in a potentially unconstitutional manner, line-item vetoed the tax. The law would limit carbon dioxide emissions and raise energy prices, but it may all be undone by the courts.

Article Tags
Climate Change
Taxes: Gas Tax
H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., is the Director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy and the managing editor of Environment & Climate News.
Myers is environmental director at the Washington Policy Center, a market-oriented think tank in Seattle. @WAPolicyGreen