Carbon Washington, the grass-roots initiative campaign to put a price on carbon pollution, may not file its initiative after all, despite gathering enough signatures to put the measure on the 2016 ballot.

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Carbon Washington, the grass-roots initiative campaign to put a price on carbon pollution, may not file its initiative after all, despite gathering enough signatures to put the measure on the 2016 ballot.

Initiative 732 would cut sales and business taxes commensurate with its fee on carbon pollution in a revenue-neutral approach to attacking the single largest cause of climate warming.

But instead of a victory march to the Secretary of State’s Office, campaign leaders are in negotiations with backers of a competing carbon initiative to stand down.

Talks are under way to run the alternative initiative instead in 2016, that would put a fee on carbon with the revenue dedicated to developing energy efficiency, clean-energy initiatives and renewables, and forest and watershed conservation measures.

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Yoram Bauman, a co-founder of the I-732 campaign called Carbon Washington, did not return calls for comment Wednesday. But on the campaign’s website he wrote, “We’re on the fence about whether we should turn in the 350,000 signatures that we have collected … in order to qualify I-732 for the Nov 2016 ballot.”

As an initiative to the Legislature the campaign needs 246,732 valid signatures from registered voters by the end of the year. That would force lawmakers to either pass the measure or send it to a public vote.

But instead, Bauman wrote, the campaign is leaning toward supporting an alternative advocated by the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy, a powerful coalition that includes the state’s major environmental and labor groups, among other groups.

“The specifics of an alternative to I-732 are still being worked out, but the general outline is that it will be a ‘carbon fee,’ with significant portions of the fee revenue going to fund clean-energy projects, clean water projects, and forest health,” Bauman wrote.

New polling showed the revenue-neutral approach of I-732 garnering less initial support among voters than a fee that would pay for clean-energy programs, Bauman wrote. Carbon Washington also struggled to attract support from business or GOP leaders. Major civic groups also did not sign on to the measure.

Lisa MacLean, director of the Alliance of Jobs and Clean Energy, said in an interview Wednesday she thinks the combination of the grass-roots activism of the Carbon Washington campaign and broad coalition of the Alliance will provide the best chance for passing an initiative in Washington to take action on global warming.

“There have been some promising talks between the Alliance and Carbon Washington about potentially combining forces and putting together a single viable climate measure to the people of Washington state next year,” MacLean said.

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“This movement is realizing how much we have in common and how important it is, and really historic to take this forward and be the first in the nation to propose a carbon-pricing initiative directly to the people.”

Leaders of I-732 have to make up their minds by Dec. 31, the deadline for filing signatures for an initiative to the Legislature. An initiative aimed directly at the fall ballot has until July to collect signatures.

Carbon Washington’s ability to gather enough signatures to qualify the measure is a show of strong voter support, said Alan Durning, executive director of the Sightline Institute, a Seattle think tank.

“I’ve been astonished by the success of Carbon Washington,” Durning said. “To me it is a sign that there is interest in bold action on climate.”