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The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast

The Oil Industry Spent Millions to Kill an Anti-Pollution Measure

BP America, Chevron USA, and the Koch brothers were among those who spent $31 million to defeat the ballot initiative.

by VICE Staff
Nov 12 2018, 10:39pm

Image: dbchandler/Pixabay

There was hope in Washington State. Ballot initiative 1631 had been backed by Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, and other pro-environment stalwarts. If it passed, it would be one of the first anti-pollution laws to tax carbon-heavy industries in exchange for cleaner air and water. Instead, the oil industry banded together to pour money into a campaign to defeat the measure altogether last week.

BP America, Chevron USA, the Koch brothers, and others behind the most heavily funded campaign in Washington's history used several tactics to convince the state's voters to reject 1631. Organizers said it would threaten jobs around state refineries, and that average citizens would pay $440 more for gas and utility per year. That's not to mention the problem that most people in the US don't believe climate change will directly impact them.

On Monday's episode of The Vice Guide to Right Now podcast, we talked to Geoff Dembicki about what happened with 1631, and what the future might hold for initiatives like it.

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