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How Environment and Energy Ballot Measures Fared in Tuesday's Election

More than the president was decided. Results are in on a Washington carbon tax, a California plastic bag ban, a Sunshine State restriction on solar panels, and on a ban on oil drilling in a California county that actually has oil drilling.
November 10, 2016, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Washington voters resoundingly rejected I-732, a revenue-neutral $25 per ton carbon tax that would have lowered other taxes, including the sales tax. The measure lost with 58.52 percent voting no.

"Opponents said the tax would raise energy prices", reduce manufacturing and agricultural jobs and quickly lead to an $11 billion increase to Washington’s trade deficit as businesses and consumers are forced to purchase products and services from other countries and other states," reports the Puget Sound Business Journal on Nov. 9.

Just down the coast in California, two state propositions were placed on the ballot by the plastics industry who hoped to overturn a state law that authorized the first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. Proposition 67 was the actual voter referendum to undue SB 270 approved in 2014. A 'yes vote' would keep the ban — it won with 52 percent of the vote.

In an illustration of voter knowledge, voters rejected a industry-backed measure, Proposition 65, whose purpose may have served only to confuse voters, hoping they would simply vote no on both measures. Prop 65 would have required the fees from paper bags and reusable plastic bags go to a new environmental fund. It was rejected by 55.3 percent of the vote, allowing grocery stores to, in essence, be paid for the bags they sell to customers who don't bring reusable bags for their groceries.

To further confuse matters, should both measures pass, "[t]he Legislative Analyst's Office also notes that Proposition 65 might prevent Proposition 67's bag ban depending on how court's interpret the propositions," according to Ballotpedia.

See the results of all 27 of California propositions on the Secretary of State website or click on the ballot measures in Ballotpedia (see if the result is checked on the cover page).

Energy measures

In Monterey County, California, voters approved Measure Z, a so-called anti-fracking ban that may likely have the effect of banning all new oil drilling and may cause current drilling operations to cease if drillers are unable or unwilling to clean all the waste water from steam-injected drilling operations, as none of the wells use fracking. KSBW reports that 56 percent of voters said yes to the ban. 

Monterey became the seventh California county to ban fracking, joining San Benito County and Santa Cruz County, and the first major oil-producing county to do so.

Finally, on the opposite coast, Florida voters rejected a utility-backed measure, Amendment 1, that would have made it more difficult for private solar companies to compete in the state.

"The amendment attempted to use the popularity of solar to embed new language into the Florida Constitution that could have been used as a legal barrier to raise fees on solar users and keep out companies that want to compete with the utilities to provide solar energy generation," reports The Miami Herald.

Since it was a constittutional amendment it needed 60 percent to pass. It received only 50.78 percent.

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Published on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 in Planetizen
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