Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, responded to news that Washington state now has the highest gas prices in the country by calling for action on legislation he introduced in the 2023 session that would cap the price of carbon pollution permits being auctioned off under the Climate Commitment Act.

“Putting a price on carbon pollution is an important part of responding to our climate crisis, but the prices for carbon permits at our auctions have been way too high,” said Mullet. “The whole idea all along has been that our price for a permit for a ton of carbon should line up with California’s – instead we’re nearly double California’s price. I think the Department of Ecology is sort of dropping the ball here, and it’s the people of Washington who are having to pay for it.”

“The climate crisis is one of the great challenges of our time, and the Climate Commitment Act is letting us make incredible investments in green jobs, cleaning up our air and water, and protecting folks from the impacts of climate change. But we’ve got to make this happen in a way that doesn’t overly burden people who are just trying to get by. I think we can do this better, and I’ve got a bill to make it happen.”

According to E&E News, Washington state carbon permits are being auctioned at a price of roughly $56 per ton in the most recent auctions, compared to about $30 per ton in California.

Mullet’s bill, SB 5769, would set a price ceiling for auctions of Washington state carbon pollution permits at no more than 20 percent higher than the most recent auction price in California. The bill was not voted on in the 2023 legislative session, but it would be eligible for consideration in a 2023 special session or in the 2024 session.