carbon tax

President Donald Trump has made it clear climate change is not a priority for his administration, but it is still a top issue for Democratic governors and lawmakers in Washington and Oregon.

In Oregon, there’s talk of a cap-and-trade system. And in Washington, the idea of a carbon tax keeps popping up as Democrats and Republicans face off over the budget.

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Polluting industries in Washington state don’t like Gov. Jay Inslee’s cap on carbon emissions -- and they don’t think it’s legal.

Inslee’s clean air rule was unveiled last September and went into effect in October. It’s been called a first-of-its-kind rule that caps and reduces carbon pollution by requiring polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions over time.

Rachel La Corte / AP Photo

More than half of the new revenue in the budget proposal announced by Governor Inslee this week comes from the introduction of a tax on carbon pollution. That’s even after Washington voters resoundingly rejected a carbon tax proposal on the fall ballot.

But research from the non-profit Nature Conservancy shows Inslee’s proposal is actually consistent with what voters want, even though only about 40 percent of Washington voters supported Initiative 732, the “carbon-neutral tax swap,”

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

As a court deadline looms, Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday proposed that the state spend $2.7 billion over the next two years to fully fund the state's basic education obligations and to increase salaries for teachers.

Washington voters gave an overwhelming thumbs down Tuesday to a citizen initiative to impose a direct tax on carbon emissions. But that doesn't look to be the end of the story on regulating global warming pollution at the state level.

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It’s often said that one of the most pressing issues of our time is climate change. Yet, even after years of discussion, Washington state still lacks a policy to limit the pollution that causes it. A recent clean air rule announced by the state Department of Ecology is not yet in effect and is already the subject of multiple lawsuits. So, despite its reputation as an environmentally progressive Ecotopia, the Evergreen State is left without a mechanism to reign in carbon emissions.