Campaign workers and volunteers around the state were busy the final weekend before the election making a final push before ballots are due. The initiative that has been the costliest in our state is the battle over a fee that supporters say would combat greenhouse gas emissions.
On Sunday, volunteers who support I-1631 gathered in a Seattle living room before heading out to knock on doors and promote their cause. The group was targeting likely supporters to make sure they return their ballots.
Clay Dewey-Valentine hosted the event in his home and said he’s given several hours to the issue.
“When we talk about climate change we think a lot about what's going to happen to the kids in the future and to the next people who live here and I'm an elementary school teacher so I think about that daily,” he explained.
Dana Bieber spoke on behalf of those against the initiative and said it was a busy weekend for them, as well.
“We've got volunteers across the state ringing doorbells, hanging yard signs,” she said. “I'm a mother of 3 children and I believe it is our responsibility to protect the environment but that's where 1631 fails us."
Those against the measure point to an increase in costs for families. Gas prices will likely increase, the Washington Policy Center put it at 14 cents per gallon, while initiative supporters put it closer to 10 cents. Ultimately, it depends on how much the oil companies pass on.
Puget Sound Energy estimates electric customers would likely pay about $3.75 more per month beginning in 2020, rising to about $5.50 by 2025. Natural Gas customers would pay about $5.33 more per month in 2020, rising to about $9.42 per month in 2025.
There is no spending plan in the initiative’s language. If it passes, a newly appointed board of experts would come up the details, which the legislature would have to approve.
“This is an unelected board of political interest, political appointees who will be responsible for doling out $30 billion and yet there's no specified spending plan,” Bieber explained. “There's no requirement in 1631 that the money be spent on greenhouse gas reductions.”
The initiative language does say the majority of the money should be invested in green infrastructure. 25 percent would be spent on efforts to preserve water and forests and 5 percent for local communities impacted by carbon pollution.
Dewey-Valentine believes it will make a difference in several ways “some of the fees go toward job retraining and opportunities for folks who have jobs in the fossil fuel industry to get new training.”