Judge keeps alive lawsuit by carbon market whistleblower

By Anne C. Mulkern | 07/01/2024 06:22 AM EDT

A former Washington state employee says he was pushed out because he predicted the state’s carbon market could raise the cost of gasoline.

A motorist pumps gas at a Shell station in Seattle.

A motorist pumps gas at a Shell station in Seattle. Ted S. Warren/AP

A lawsuit is advancing against Washington state from a former employee who claims he was forced out after he flagged that the state’s carbon market could increase gasoline prices.

Judge Anne Egeler of the Superior Court in Washington rejected the state’s request to dismiss the complaint from Scott Smith, who left his state job in November.

The judge, who was appointed by Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, said in a ruling earlier this month that the case has legal merit. The state now must produce evidence demanded by Smith’s attorney.


The ruling sends a message “that the government cannot retaliate against employees for refusing to comply with the state’s attempts to thwart transparency and accountability,” Jackson Maynard, Scott’s attorney, said in a statement.