Ini­tia­tives tar­get­ing fos­sil fu­els de­feated in West­ern states.

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY VA­LERIE RICHARD­SON

DEN­VER | Global warm­ing met with a cool re­cep­tion from vot­ers Tues­day as bal­lot ini­tia­tives tar­get­ing fos­sil fu­els went down to de­feat in sev­eral West­ern states, de­fy­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal groups who are rais­ing alarms about cat­a­strophic cli­mate change.

Vot­ers re­jected a near-ban on hy­draulic frac­tur­ing in Colorado, a tripling of the re­new­able-en­ergy stan­dard in Ari­zona, and a land­mark tax on car­bon emis­sions in Wash­ing­ton, un­der­scor­ing the cli­mate move­ment’s dif­fi­culty in con­vinc­ing vot­ers that costly gov­ern­ment poli­cies are needed to save the planet.

“What we learned from this elec­tion, in states like Colorado, Ari­zona and Wash­ing­ton, is that vot­ers re­ject poli­cies that would make en­ergy more ex­pen­sive and less re­li­able to them, their fam­i­lies, and the larger econ­omy,” said Amer­i­can En­ergy Al­liance Pres­i­dent Thomas J. Pyle.

“There is lit­tle doubt that those who au­thored the de­feated ini­tia­tives will try again, but we hope they have fi­nally learned their les­son,” he said. “The vot­ers have spo­ken.”

He may have been re­fer­ring to San Fran­cisco bil­lion­aire Tom Steyer, whose NextGen Amer­ica sunk $22 mil­lion into Ari­zona’s Propo­si­tion 127, which would have raised the re­new­able-en­ergy stan­dard from 15 per­cent by 2025 to 50 per­cent by 2030.

Propo­si­tion 127 lost re­sound­ingly, with only 30 per­cent of vot­ers in sup­port and 70 per­cent against.

Mr. Steyer did notch an in­terim win in Ne­vada with Ques­tion 6, which would dou­ble the state’s re­new­able-en­ergy stan­dard to 50 per­cent by 2030.

The mea­sure passed 59-41 per­cent, but must be ap­proved again by vot­ers in 2020 to take ef­fect.

In Colorado, vot­ers de­feated Propo­si­tion 112, an an­tifrack­ing pro­posal backed by 350.org and Food & Water Watch, with 57 per­cent vot­ing no. The mea­sure would have cor­doned off 85 per­cent of the state from oil-and-gas de­vel­op­ment by in­creas­ing set­backs to 2,500 feet from the cur­rent 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools.

The oil and gas in­dus­try sunk $41 mil­lion into de­feat­ing Propo­si­tion 112, out­spend­ing pro­po­nents by nearly 50 to 1.

“We’re grate­ful Coloradans saw this for what it was, which was an at­tempt to run oil and gas out of the state,” Dan Ha­ley, Colorado Oil and Gas As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent, told The Den­ver Busi­ness Jour­nal.

Still, 350.org’s Bill McKibben was op­ti­mistic about the fu­ture of cli­mate ini­tia­tives. “This fight will pay off big in years to come!” he tweeted.

In Mon­tana, Trout Un­lim­ited’s anti-min­ing Ini­tia­tive 186 was de­feated by 41-59 per­cent. Alaska’s Bal­lot Mea­sure 1, called “Stand for Salmon,” lost by 35-62 per­cent af­ter foes ar­gued it would ham­string the oil and min­ing in­dus­tries, ac­cord­ing to KTOO.

Wash­ing­ton’s Ini­tia­tive 1631, which would have es­tab­lished the na­tion’s first car­bon tax, was de­clared dead Wed­nes­day by The Seat­tle Times af­ter trail­ing by 44-56 per­cent with 64 per­cent of the vote counted.

The loss of the “Green New Deal” hit cli­mate ad­vo­cates hard. “If cli­mate pol­icy can’t win in the Ev­er­green State, can it win any­where?” asked the At­lantic’s Robin­son Meyer.

Added the New Repub­lic’s Emily Atkin: “There was no green wave what­so­ever.”

Vot­ers were in the mood Tues­day for elec­tion re­form, ap­prov­ing more than a dozen mea­sures aimed at ex­pand­ing voter ac­cess, im­prov­ing bal­lot in­tegrity and tak­ing pol­i­tics out of re­dis­trict­ing.

Four states — Colorado, Michi­gan, Mis­souri and Ohio — ap­proved re­dis­trict­ing mea­sures, con­tin­u­ing the trend by state leg­is­la­tures to take the map-draw­ing out of the hands of politi­cians and un­der the purview of in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sions and de­mog­ra­phers, ac­cord­ingto Bal­lot­pe­dia.

It was a good night for felons: Florida passed a mea­sure au­to­mat­i­cally restor­ing the vot­ing rights of felons who com­plete their sen­tences. Louisiana pro­hib­ited felons from run­ning for pub­lic of­fice for five years, in­stead of 15 years.

Mary­land and Michi­gan made it eas­ier to vote with same-day reg­is­tra­tion — Michi­gan also ap­proved straight-ticket vot­ing and au­to­matic reg­is­tra­tion — while North Carolina passed a photo ID re­quire­ment. North Dakota clar­i­fied that only U.S. cit­i­zens may vote, and Mon­tana banned elec­tion-bal­lot col­lect­ing, with a few ex­cep­tions.

Ari­zona, Florida and North Carolina vot­ers ap­proved mea­sures de­signed to hold the line on taxes, in­clud­ing Ari­zona’s Propo­si­tion 126, which pro­hibits state and lo­cal gov­ern­ments from im­pos­ing or in­creas­ing taxes on ser­vices.

It was an­other story in Ore­gon, where vot­ers re­jected mea­sures to bar taxes on gro­ceries and re­quir­ing a three­fifths vote of the state leg­is­la­ture for tax in­creases.

And in Cal­i­for­nia, birth­place of the 1978 Propo­si­tion 13 prop­erty-tax re­volt, vot­ers took a stand in fa­vor of taxes by de­feat­ing Propo­si­tion 6, which would have re­pealed the 10-year, $54 bil­lion tax in­crease on gaso­line and diesel. The mea­sure lost by 45-55 per­cent.

For­mer San Diego City Coun­cil mem­ber Carl DeMaio, the ini­tia­tive’s spon­sor, blamed the mea­sure’s state-ap­proved word­ing, which warned that the re­peal would elim­i­nate fund­ing for road and tran­sit projects.

“We were ham­pered by a mislead­ing bal­lot state­ment,” he told The San Diego Union-Tri­bune. “This shows the politi­cians have been steal­ing our gas taxes, and now they’re try­ing to steal our votes.”

Mean­while, Demo­cratic Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the bill into law, took a vic­tory lap.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

In Florida, vot­ers passed a mea­sure to au­to­mat­i­cally re­store the vot­ing rights of felons who com­pleted their sen­tences in Tues­day’s vote. In Louisiana, vot­ers passed a mea­sure that pro­hibits felons from run­ning for of­fice for five years in­stead of 15.

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