HELENA — Montana Attorney General Tim Fox and Wyoming Attorney General Peter Michael are opposing Washington state's recently proposed "carbon tax" legislation, (https://dojmt.gov/attorneys-general-fox-michael-raise-concerns-carbon-tax-legislation/), citing conflicts with the Federal Clean Air Act, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Constitution.
In a recent letter sent to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Fox and Michael stated their opposition to Washington Senate Bill 6203, which they say is designed to spread regulations outside the state's borders and violates federal rules by generating a tax tied to electricity sold in other states.
“The effect of SSB 6203 goes far beyond environmental concerns in Washington," Fox and Michael wrote in their letter. "The U.S. Constitution forbids states from regulating interstate commerce. Also, Washington’s effort to require out-of-state entities to comply with the statute’s exemption provisions likely conflicts with the Federal Clean Air Act. Finally, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has exclusive authority to regulate the transmission and sale of electric energy in interstate commerce, without regard to the source of production.
"Washington state, obviously, does not have jurisdiction to regulate environmental issues in Montana and Wyoming. Yet the clear intent of SSB 6203 is to force non-Washington power generation facilities into compliance with Washington air quality regulations through the imposition of a tax on carbon dioxide emitted outside Washington.”
According to the attorneys general, the proposed bill would tax carbon dioxide emissions generated in Washington state as well as utilities serving the state, including Colstrip, which is the largest station in Montana.