Opponents of carbon fee break initiative fundraising record

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The campaign against a ballot measure creating a carbon pollution fee has set a fundraising record for statewide initiatives.

The “No on 1631” campaign sponsored by the Western States Petroleum Association, an oil industry trade group, has raised more than $25.8 million, according to data from the Public Disclosure Commission.

Supporters of the measure have raised about $12.5 million.

Initiative 1631 would charge large carbon emitters fees on fossil fuels used or sold in the state or electricity generated within the state. The fees would raise an estimated $2.3 billion in the first five years to fund a wide range of programs intended at cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Oil companies have given the bulk of opposition money, with BP America the top donor at $9.6 million.

The ‘no’ campaign breaks the previous state record of $22.45 million that was set in 2013 by the “No on 522” committee, which successfully defeated a ballot measure requiring labels on food with genetically engineered ingredients.

If approved by voters Nov. 6, Initiative 1631 would make Washington the first state in the U.S. to impose a direct carbon fee or tax by voter initiative.