Fast Company: Why this hedge fund manager is spending $6 million to kill Washington’s landmark tax and climate bills

March 11, 2024

The Climate Commitment Act not only protects our air and our forests and our waters by capping pollution, it provides the engine for investing in our clean energy transition,” says Michael Mann, executive director of advocacy group Clean & Prosperous Washington.

Mann says the program has already had an impact. It has raised $2 billion from the auctions, and invested in things like 5,000 EV charging stations, six electrified ferries, home energy rebates for heat pumps, dairy digesters for farmers, and 30 fish barrier removal projects. $40 million also went to building a green hydrogen plant and a solar installation on the Yakama tribal community.

Framing it as a gas tax may appeal to voters, Auxier says, but it’s not so straightforward. “It’s absolutely not a tax—he’s wrong on that,” Mann says, calling it a pollution fee. Mann’s analysis shows arfound a 25-cent-per-gallon increase in gas since the CCA began, but most of the price hikes started long before the CCA, due to a host of reasons including supply.

“The CCA is only 14 months old, so hasn’t yet shown meaningful evidence of carbon reductions yet. Heywood cites this as a reason to dump the program, but Mann counters that it’s too soon and still needs time to show the full impact. “It would be extremely irrational to go backwards on this,” he says. “If this policy goes away . . . those [carbon reduction] goals don’t go away. If not this policy, then what?”

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Clean & Prosperous Washington is a project of the Washington Business Alliance.
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