Washington carbon tax measure clears Senate committee

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OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – A measure to tax fossil fuel emissions to fight climate change has cleared a Senate committee.

The Senate energy, environment and technology committee amended and approved Senate Bill 6203 Thursday night. It now goes to a fiscal committee.

Sen. Reuven Carlyle, a Democrat and bill sponsor, says climate change is having a profound effect on the state and world and the measure attempts to address.

The measure proposes a new tax of $10 per metric ton rather than $20 per ton originally proposed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The tax would begin in 2019 and in 2021 would increase $2 per ton each year until it is capped at $30 a ton.

Sen. Doug Ericksen, a Republican from Ferndale, criticized the bill saying it would force businesses to leave the state and hurt working families.

If the Legislature doesn’t act on a carbon policy, a coalition of environmental, labor and other groups say they will move ahead with a citizen’s initiative this November.