Overcharged by Millions: Washington state farmers still paying carbon tax despite exemption

Despite an agriculture exemption, Washington state is still charging farmers a carbon tax on fuels purchased for their operations. This even though the exemption is written into state law.

Now the ag sector is being illegally overcharged by $74 million dollars this year, that is according to Washington Farm Bureau Government Affairs Director Bre Elsey.
She shares where efforts stand to resolve this.

“And then the legislature has no political will to engage in the conversation and I can kind of understand why. Because even if they were to bring forth legislation, the governor’s office has made it abundantly clear that they would veto that bill. So, Washington Farm Bureau joined with Washington Trucking Association, and we had attorneys draft what’s called a Petition for Review for rulemaking, and so, you can’t just litigate out of the gate. You have to go through this step first,” she explains. “Which is a formal process where you ask ecology to do the right thing. You ask them formally to open up rulemaking and address problems that are outlined in the petition. They have 60 days to respond and if they say yes, then they open rulemaking and they try to find a mechanism that resolves this implementation problem. If they say no, we’re not going to open rulemaking, that leaves the option available at that point to pursue litigation.”

Elsey says that they are in a holding pattern to see what the Washington State Department of Ecology decides to do.