While Tuesday’s election dominated the news, a key climate vote ended in a triumph for big oil.
Voters in Washington, one of the most progressive states on climate policy, rejected Initiative 1631, a carbon fee that would be imposed on fossil fuel emissions. The “no” side spent an unprecedented $31 milllion, mostly contributed by the oil industry. Phillips 66, BP America, Andeavor, and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers gave a combined $18.8 million to the anti-1631 campaign.
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PHILLIPS 66 - $7.2 million
BP AMERICA - $6.3 million
ANDEAVOR - $4.3 million
AMERICAN FUEL AND PETROCHEMICAL MANUFACTURERS - $1 million
U.S. OIL & REFINING COMPANY - $558,531
CHEVRON U.S.A. INC. - $500,000
VALERO ENERGY CORPORATION - $495,000
KOCH INDUSTRIES, INC. - $300,000
THE HOLLYFRONTIER COMPANIES - $250,000
CASCADE NATURAL GAS COMPANY - $50,000
BP AMERICA - (in kind) $47,677.63
WESTERN STATES PETROLEUM ASSOCIATION - (in kind) $46,887.08
In Canada, Alberta United Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney praised the vote, saying "progressive, ‘green’ Washington State soundly rejected a carbon tax" while Albertans didn't have a say about carbon pricing.
Progressive, ‘green’ Washington State soundly rejected a carbon tax last night. Meanwhile, voters in Alberta were never asked about a carbon tax. But Albertans will finally have their say in 2019! pic.twitter.com/6aEPe5NRIc— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) November 7, 2018
Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall, who also refused to cooperate with the Trudeau government's carbon pricing initiative, tweeted on Wednesday about Washington's carbon vote defeat.
If Initiative 1631 had succeeded, it would have made Washington the first U.S. state with carbon pricing on pollution. The Initiative was developed by a coalition of environmental, labor, tribal and social-justice groups, and funds raised raised by the carbon fee would have gone toward initiatives including solar and wind farms, climate education programs and forest fire prevention.
The fee was proposed at $15 per ton of carbon created, increasing by $2 per ton a year until 2035. It was Washington's second bid to have a carbon price implemented, the first effort having failed in 2016.