Politics & Government

Who needs the Sierra Club when you have Leonardo DiCaprio? Actor tweets support of carbon tax

Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the Oscars in February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. He has come out in favor of the carbon tax that is on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Leonardo DiCaprio arrives at the Oscars in February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. He has come out in favor of the carbon tax that is on the Nov. 8 ballot. Invision

Washington's carbon tax initiative may lack the support of some of the state’s major environmental groups, but it has found another powerful ally: movie star Leonardo DiCaprio.

DiCaprio, who won an Oscar this year for his performance in “The Revenant,” used his Academy Awards acceptance speech to talk about the need to address climate change.

In a tweet Friday, he said he thinks Washington’s Initiative 732 is an important part of that effort.

“I-732 is a chance to create a clean energy future. Join @CarbonWA and @AudubonWA and vote #Yeson732,” the 41-year-old actor tweeted, linking to the Audubon Washington website.

While the Audubon Washington supports the initiative, several large environmental groups — including the Sierra Club and the Washington Environmental Council — have opposed it, saying it would reduce state revenues and isn’t the right approach.

If voters approve the measure Nov. 8, it would be the nation’s first carbon tax.

DiCaprio isn’t the only one outside of Washington state take notice of I-732 this week.

On Thursday, The Washington Post’s editorial board criticized environmental groups that oppose the initiative, saying if the environmental movement “really wants to fight climate change, the movement should be able to take yes for an answer.”

The initiative would impose a tax of $15 per metric ton of carbon dioxide starting in July 2017 and increase the tax to $25 per metric ton starting in July 2018.

Supporters of I-732 say it would result in a 25-cent increase in gasoline prices, which they say would be offset by increased low-income family tax rebates, lower business taxes and a reduction in the state sales tax.

Opponents, including the Association of Washington Business, say the carbon-tax measure would drive up energy costs for households and businesses, while taking too much money out of the state budget.

Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209, @melissasantos1

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