Initiative 2117 certified: Rep. Jim Walsh calls for end to cap-and-trade in Washington

Washington State Secretary of State Steve Hobbs has officially notified the Legislature that the signature verification for Initiative 2117 has been completed and certified. This initiative aims to repeal the Climate Commitment Act (CCA), a law implemented two years ago, that sets annual limits on greenhouse gas emissions for major contributors such as oil refiners and utilities. These entities must acquire allowances through state auctions proportionate to the volume of pollution they generate in metric tons.

In the previous year, the state generated more than $1.8 billion from allowance auctions, and projections suggest another billion or more for the current year.

However, the program, initially promised by the executive branch to cost Washingtonian motorists only a few pennies at the gas pump, has resulted in a significant surge in gas prices across the state. Contrary to expectations, fuel costs have risen by 50 cents per gallon or more, tripling the expense for consumers compared to the initial information provided to the Legislature.

Rep. Jim WalshR-Aberdeen, sponsor and author of the initiative, released the following statement regarding its official introduction at the Legislature:

“This is great news for working families and everyday people across Washington who have been suffering financially due to this cap-and-trade scheme. They now have hope; relief is on the way!

“Before the current governor and his supporters pushed through this poorly conceived scheme in Olympia, the people of Washington had rejected cap-and-trade schemes and similar ‘carbon tax’ proposals multiple times through ballot initiatives. The governor and his supporters ignored the people’s voice. Instead, false statements were made about the scheme, claiming it would only cost Washington families ‘pennies.’ The state attorney general even advised Washington utilities to hide the cap-and-trade’s negative impact on consumers’ utility bills. What a mess!

“The Olympia establishment should have listened to the people, and now they have the chance to do so. I encourage my colleagues in the state Legislature to do the right thing — support I-2117, repeal the cap-and-trade scheme, and clean up the mess immediately. No more obfuscation, no more furtive evasion.

“The people of Washington are hurting; they’re facing record-high gas and diesel prices, and their utility bills are rising sharply. They’ve supported I-2117 with their signatures, and now lawmakers need to support I-2117 with their votes.”

Initiatives certified to the Legislature are presented during the regular session in January. The Legislature can either adopt the initiative as presented or enact it into law without it appearing on the ballot. Alternatively, they can reject or refrain from taking action on the initiative, resulting in its inclusion on the ballot during the next general election. Another option is for the Legislature to introduce a bill addressing the same subject; in such a scenario, both measures would be featured on the ballot.

The 60-day 2024 legislative session began on Monday, Jan. 8, and will conclude on March 7.


Washington State House Republican Communications