Cheers rang out at the Secretary of State’s office as volunteers and leaders from the Yes on 1631 coalition delivered the first wave of more than 100 boxes of petitions with roughly 375,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Elections office at noon on Monday.
More than 2,000 volunteers, organized through more than 200 organizations across Washington, worked over 12 weeks to gather signatures for this initiative. 260,000 verified signatures are required to qualify for the General Election ballot in November.
The rally for delivery featured volunteers who devoted their time over the last several months to collecting the signatures.
“Health is not a special interest,” said Dr. Mark Vossler, who took time off from work and his family to volunteer for this campaign. “There is nothing else I could have done with my time that would have a greater effect on protecting our communities’ health.”
Initiative 1631 would protect local health and build a cleaner future for Washington by putting a pollution fee on the state's largest polluters, like the oil industry and utilities that have not yet switched to clean energy. It would invest in clean energy infrastructure, protecting and improving our state’s clean water and healthy forests, and transitioning local communities to a clean energy economy.
Read the stories from our Yes on 1631 rally:
Gizmodo/Earther: Why Washington's latest carbon fee just might pass
Everett Herald: Voters might decide to make polluters pay a fee
Associated Press: Carbon fee initiative likely to be on fall ballot
Spokesman Review: Carbon fee likely headed to fall ballot
KIRO Radio: I-1631: Washington's latest carbon fee proposal
Initiative 1631 is supported by the broadest coalition in Washington state initiative history, including labor unions, health professionals, businesses, communities of color organizations, tribal nations, faith organizations and environmental and clean energy advocates.
“This is about polluters paying their fair share, cleaning up the mess that has been made and setting the stage for a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous future,” said Mike Stevens, Washington state director for The Nature Conservancy.
Jade Lauw, a student at the University of Washington and a volunteer with Our Climate, said she’s involved to protect our quality of life for her generation and generations to come.
The Rev. Nancy Hylton, co-pastor of Rainier Valley Community of Christ Congregation, said this is the first initiative for which she has committed to gathering signatures. “Initiative 1631 has a practical focus on mitigating the pollution that is damaging our health and communities,” she said. “As a person of faith, I recognize my responsibility to protect this place we’ve been given by the Creator.”