Election brings carbon tax closer to Oregon

Environmentalists think Oregon has enough Democrats in its state Senate to institute a failed carbon tax.

Democrats now have 17 seats out of the 30 in the Senate after Tuesday’s election and one seat still could flip, radio station KUOW reported


Advocates had hoped for 18 seats to pass a tax on carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming, but 17 might do.

“Our ultimate objective here is to price carbon in Oregon,” Doug Moore, executive director of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, told KUOW. “And maybe having 18 seats in the Senate gives us that opportunity.”

Environmental policies like a carbon tax were one of the goals of Moore’s group when it partnered with Tom Steyer’s NextGen Climate to spend money in the election and help vulnerable Democrats.

But a similar strategy didn’t work in neighboring Washington, another state where Democrats want a carbon tax and a low-carbon fuel standard, but Republicans in the state Senate had blocked it.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) told reporters Wednesday that he had come to terms with the fact that his energy policies are unlikely to pass.

“All parties are going to have to accept what they consider imperfect solutions,” Inslee said, according to KUOW. “It is the nature of bipartisanship and this year amongst all we’re going to need more of that rather than lesser.”

NextGen had also worked in Washington with similar goals to its Oregon campaigns.

Pennsylvania had its own environmental victory in Tuesday’s election with the election of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.

Wolf has previously said that he would bring Pennsylvania into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coalition of northeastern states that work to reduce carbon emissions.