Dear friends and neighbors,

Perhaps the biggest issue of the 2024 session is our state’s efforts to combat climate change, which became incredibly controversial this past summer when our Climate Commitment Act contributed to driving up Washington’s gas prices to the most expensive in the nation.

Putting a price on carbon pollution is a good idea, and I voted for the Climate Commitment Act when it passed. The climate crisis is real, and the investments made possible by the CCA in clean energy, green jobs, and protecting folks from pollution are important. But any major program is going to need fixes and updates as time goes on, and I think it’s clear the CCA could use some work to lower the impact it’s having on gas prices and help the families and small businesses who are feeling the hit.

Washington state isn’t going to stop climate change all on our own — we need other states and countries to act too. I really worry we won’t see other governments following Washington’s leadership on climate if we can’t show that it’s possible to fight carbon pollution while still balancing it with affordability.

Right now, there’s an initiative to repeal the CCA before the Legislature. My preference is, rather than leave the CCA alone without changes or repeal it entirely, that we make reforms to the bill to reduce the cost effects on consumers and alleviate some of the concerns that brought us to the point of having an initiative before us. Like on so many issues, my approach isn’t to go to one extreme or the other on the right or left wing – it’s to find the solution in the middle that really works best.

My bill, SB 5783, would increase the number of allowances sold at auction in the short term – which should lower the auction price and the cost passed on to consumers – while still keeping our 2050 goal of net-zero emissions. It would also restore our promise to farmers to exempt them from costs passed through, and it would apply some immediate affordability relief by taking some of the excess revenue raised at CCA auctions and giving it back to the public in the form of car tab reductions.

This is a very political issue, unfortunately, and honestly, I’m not sure if my bill will pass. I hope it does and I’m working hard on it. But I want people to know there are good things we can do to help lower gas prices without completely repealing our important work to fight the climate crisis.

Feel free to let me know what your thoughts are on this subject. Thank you for reading, and let’s stay in touch!

Sen. Mark Mullet