Letter to the editor: Facts about clean air initiative 1631

Dear Editor:
How to tell fake news from real news is one of the challenges of our times. It takes time and energy to maneuver through all the questions: Can I trust the source? Does it ring true? Am I just believing because it fits my world view? What fears is this playing on? Can I verify it?
Such a challenge is plainly visible when talking about Initiative 1631, the clean air initiative that will show up in your Washington ballot this November.
There are now television ads playing that are very well-done, funded by a few oil companies, sounding environmentally concerned, protective of Washington’s natural resources, and stating that energy prices will go up. Or you may have had a pro-1631 canvasser knock on your door and present the opposite view.
How to tell the difference?
I liked this Snohomish County website because it is neutral  –
If you click on I-1631, you get options. The two most useful for me were The Arguments For and Against, and Who donated to these ballot measure campaigns? There you will see the opposing arguments laid out, and you can verify that Western States Petroleum Association gave $21,316,694.13. That is over $21 million. Compare it to the others and see that total money in favor of 1631 is less than $8.5 million.
So then I researched Western States Petroleum Association to see if they had a financial stake on continuing to use fossil fuels and I found that it, “represents companies that account for the bulk of petroleum exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing in the five western states of Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.” www.wspa.org/about/
Is it possible that these oil companies who have been polluting our common airspace don’t want us to hold them accountable and don’t want to pay for their pollution? Check out dontspoilwa.org for more on what oil companies have spent on lobbying and how much they have polluted Washington state.
Why was so little money raised in favor? Perhaps the history of how 1631 came about could shed light on that.
On the pro side, I-1631 is supported by groups like the American Lung Association, The Nature Conservancy and the League of Women Voters, scientists, unions, communities of color organizations, environmental groups, clean energy companies, health professionals, businesses, faith organizations, and tribal nations.https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/washington-state-carbon-tax/567523/ They met for two years to agree on common language and ideas with the intention of representing the interests of the majority of the people.
The Washington Budget and Policy Center debunked the claims of energy prices rising. https://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/i-1631-invests-in-what-matters
And if you believe scientists, you could look at https://www.scientistsfor1631.com.
I hope that this research will help you take a more jaded eye at the “news” and give you ways to verify that you are voting based on real facts.
Carmen Rumbaut

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