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2018 midterms: How these states voted on key environmental issues on their ballots

By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
November 07, 2018, 1:47:41 PM EST

While Americans across the country voted on governors, state and U.S. senators and representatives and other political appointees, numerous states also had a wide array of ballot initiatives to consider. Issues states voted on ranged from taxes, health care, voting rights, education and legalizing recreational marijuana use.

In some states, voters had to make a determination on key energy and environmental regulations.

Here’s how several votes turned out:

Arizona Proposition 127

Arizona Proposition 127, the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative, called for energy providers to require 50 percent of energy to come from renewable resources by 2030. A yes vote called for electric providers to “acquire a certain percentage of electricity from renewable resources each year, with the percentage increasing annually from 12 percent in 2020 to 50 percent in 2030.”

How the state voted: Arizona voters voted no, rejecting the new energy policy. It was a decisive vote, with nearly 70 percent of constituents opposing this constitutional amendment.

Since the amendment was defeated, the state’s existing renewable energy requirement of 15 percent by 2025 will remain in place.

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Florida Amendment 9

Florida Amendment 9 covered several different issues including prohibiting offshore oil and gas drilling as well as ban vaping in enclosed indoor workplaces amendment. The amendment would prohibit drilling, either for exploration or extraction of oil and natural gas in state waters.

How the state voted: With over 68 percent voters choosing “yes,” the amendment was approved. Environmentalists and tourism officials had feared that an oil spill could ruin beaches, according to the Associated Press.

2018 elections

The Capitol is seen on the morning after Election Day as Democrats took back the House with a surge of fresh new candidates and an outpouring of voter enthusiasm ending eight years of Republican control, in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Nevada Question 6

Like in Arizona, Nevada Question 6, also known as the Renewable Energy Standards Initiative, called on electric utilities to acquire 50 percent of their electricity from renewable resources by 2030. If it were opposed, then the existing requirement of 25 percent of electricity from renewable resouces by 2025 would remain.

How the state voted: Unlike in Arizona, Nevada voters overwhelmingly passed the measure with over 58 percent of the vote in favor of moving forward with the new renewable energy standards.

Both energy initiatives in Nevada and Arizona were financed by NextGen America, an advocacy group that works to fight climate change and promote a clean energy economy.

Washington Initiative 1631

Washington Initiative 1631 would require a carbon emissions fee of $15 per metric ton of carbon on large emitters of carbon, such as power plants, beginning on Jan. 1, 2020. It would be "based on the carbon content of fossil fuels sold or used in the state and electricity generated in or imported for use in the state."

It would also increase the fee by $2 annually until the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals are met and use the revenue from the fee to fund various climate and environmental programs.

How the state voted: Washington state voters likely rejected the initiative. Votes were still being counted late Tuesday, but The Seattle Times reported that as of Tuesday evening, with over 1.9 million votes in, 56.3 percent of voters opposed the measure.

If passed, Washington would’ve been the first state to implement a carbon tax or fee. According to the Times, proponents of the measure are already working on getting a bill passed next year in the state capital of Olympia.

Opponents called Initiative 1631 "a costly, unfair and ineffective $2.3 billion energy tax that would be paid by Washington families and small businesses."

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