Fix WA climate law’s broken promise to farmers

Lawmakers enacted Washington’s cap-and-trade system with the understanding that agriculture would be exempt from the increased costs created by the nascent carbon emissions market. But more than a year into the landmark climate law, some farmers and those transporting their goods continue to pay more than they should at the gas pump.

This is a broken promise by Gov. Jay Inslee and legislators who voted to pass the Climate Commitment Act in 2021 — and it’s their responsibility to fix it.

Part of the frustration that led to a citizens initiative aimed at repealing Washington’s “cap-and-invest” system were untruths about the program. Inslee argued the system would cost motorists only “pennies” at the pump, but it turned out to be around a quarter or two per gallon. The exemption for farmers was clearly too complicated for the state’s Department of Ecology to implement when the law went into effect in January 2023. So farmers paid — and they shouldn’t have. …

If Democrats who control the Legislature want to save cap-and-trade, they must be completely honest about the Climate Commitment Act. Show voters you can acknowledge mistakes were made and fix them promptly. That kind of courage might be the only thing that can save Washington’s carbon market.

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