They obviously believe that Washington State's I-732 (the revenue-neutral carbon tax initiative) may pass and they are spending massive amounts of money on advertising to stop it.
For example, during the past week, the infamous Koch Brothers, far right oil barons, donated $ 50,000 to the No on I 732 campaign. Kaiser Aluminum threw in another $300,000. Puget Sound Energy, which heavily uses coal, threw in $125,000. And the oil company lobbyists (American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers) contributed $250,000.
Clearly, the oil companies believe that if I-732 passes, the demand for their product will decline.
Is it not ironic that the Sierra Club, Seattle's Climate Solutions, the Washington Environmental Council, and the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy are aligned with the most reactionary, anti-environmental players in the nation (e.g., the Koch brothers and the Petroleum Manufacturer groups). These left -eaning "climate justice" enthusiasts are both totally naive and working against their own self-interests and those of their members.
Some Washington environment and "climate justice" groups are in league with climate denier "devils"
The irony of this situation is stunning. While some "climate justice" groups and their fellow-travelers claim that I-732 will not be effective in reducing carbon emissions, the folks who produce and massively use carbon-based fuels are so convinced it WILL be effective that they are desperately throwing money at the No on I-732 campaign.
But the fascination of the I-732 saga does not end there. A lazy media has been complicit in the No on I732 campaign, just as it was complicit in the rise of Donald Trump. For example, the biggest objection to I 732 (and one repeated by the Seattle Times and others) is simply not true: that somehow the revenue-neutral I-732 will suck money out of the state budget, hurting schools, the environment, and orphans. The truth, outlined by the independent Sightline Foundation and shown in detail on the I-732 website, is that I-732 is extraordinarily well-designed is as close to neutrality as humanly possible. And in any case, the state legislature can do what it always does--make adjustments to ensure income meets requirements of the APPROVED STATE BUDGET. But the lazy media hasn't independently run the numbers to show that the No on 732 campaign is just blowing smoke.
But something amazing has happened during the past several weeks. An amazing bipartisan consortium of interests and groups have come together to support I-732:
- A coalition of environmental groups ranging from WA Audubon to the WA Green Party.
- Major political leaders such as Slade Gorton, Rob McKenna, Brady Walkinshaw, Jim McDermott, and Ron Sims.
- Virtually the entire climate research community of the Pacific Northwest and national climate leaders such as Jim Hansen.
- National environment activities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Kennedy, Jr.
- An army of millennials and young people determined that the world they will experience in 50 years will be livable.
All of these folks realize that the time for talk and self interest is over. The time to act on global warming is now. To put it another way, a moderate, pragmatic, non-ideological center is congealing to support I-732 and to push for real steps for finally dealing with climate change, first in WA state and then the nation.
Will the Koch Brothers, oil producers, and some self-interested, naive "climate justice" activists stop the nation's best hope for progress in dealing with climate change? Will they stop I-732's potentially huge contribution to making our State's tax system less regressive?
On Tuesday we will know. And if you haven't voted yet, please consider carefully on which side you want to be on. A future in which our state and national finally deals firmly with global warming and pushes away the current grid-lock and status quo. Can moderates and reasonable folks bring rational action to play to deal with the threat of increasing greenhouse gases?
And then there is the deeper question. Can moderates make policy and govern our country? The extremes are locked into positions and reject compromise and pragmatic/moderate approaches. Are there enough folks in the middle to move the state and nation forward? Or will the extremes dominate the national discourse, leading to deadline on critically important issues like the environment and the nation's economy?