Rep. Mary Dye leads House Republican opposition to link Washington’s energy market to California and Quebec

Following nearly a five-hour debate on the House floor Thursday as Republicans fought to protect Washingtonians from higher energy and fuel prices, majority House Democrats approved a bill that would make it easier to link the state’s carbon market to California and Quebec. The vote was party line, 57-39, with Republicans voting no.

Supporters of Senate Bill 6058 say linking Washington’s cap-and-trade program with the California-Quebec market will stabilize prices for carbon dioxide emissions allowances. But Rep. Mary Dye, ranking Republican on the House Environment and Energy Committee, believes it would increase the cost of energy, forcing Washington consumers to pay even more.

“So far, 2.2 billion dollars have been collected from our industries on this cap-and-trade project. And what do we have to show for it? It’s built a big government agency to run the program. And it’s created extraordinary cost-of-living increases for every single Washingtonian,” said Dye. “And now, this Legislature wants to hand over the keys of our energy market to California, the most expensive, unaffordable state in the nation?”

Dye noted that California’s electric rates have surged by as much as 127% over the past 10 years, about the same period as its cap-and-trade program.

“California has the highest gas prices in the country and the third highest retail electricity rates in the country.  California also is the state that has the most unaffordable housing market and the second-highest cost of living overall. Everything California policymakers touch related to energy markets ends in disaster for consumers,” noted Dye. “Linking to California is not a solution to fix Washington’s affordability crisis.”

After Washington’s cap-and-trade program took effect in January 2023, Washington’s gasoline prices spiked by nearly 50 cents a gallon, and at one point in the summer, surpassed California as the state with the highest gas prices in the nation.

Dye says it’s troubling that Washington is now trying to emulate the failed policies that make California so expensive. She offered amendments to provide price caps that would prevent even higher prices at Washington’s gas pumps and prevent linkage until price impacts at the pumps are made transparent to the public. Majority Democrats rejected the proposals.

Dye also warned that linkage would require a loss of sovereignty for Washington.

“California’s schedule and goals for emission reduction will have increased influence on the Washington Legislature. That’s very troubling. The outcomes are too uncertain for us to trust our future to California,” added Dye.

“This is bad policy for Washington. Energy is central to the affordability of your commute, the food you buy, and home heating and cooling. We shouldn’t be California. More than 418,000 Washington citizens who signed Initiative 2117 agreed. The initiative to the Legislature would repeal the state’s regressive carbon tax,” said Dye. “California is too expensive for Washington. There are better ways to address climate adaptation. Copying California is not one of them.”

The bill returns to the Senate to work out final differences. The 2024 session is scheduled to end March 7.


Washington State House Republican Communications