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Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI), who is the chairman of the Water and Power subcommittee, has introduced an important environmental legislation with his colleagues in the House and Senate:

Rep. Henry A. Waxman, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Earl Blumenauer, and Sen. Brian Schatz have released draft carbon-pricing legislation and solicited feedback on it from stakeholders and the public.

The legislation would establish the polluter pays principle for dangerous carbon pollution, requiring large emitters to pay for the pollution they emit.

The “discussion draft” contains a new and straightforward approach to putting a price on carbon pollution. The nation’s largest polluters would have to pay a fee for each ton of pollution they release.

The legislation assigns responsibility for the assessment and collection of the carbon fees based upon the expertise that has already been developed by EPA and the Treasury Department.

Under the discussion draft, EPA’s database of reported emissions would determine the amount of pollution subject to the fee. The Treasury Department would be responsible for the collection and handling of the fees. - Hawaii 24/7, 3/13/13

Senators Barbara Boxer (D. CA) and Bernie Sanders (I. VT) announced plans to introduce a bill this spring to place a $20-per-ton tax on CO2 last month.  Their plan could raise $1.2 trillion over the next decade:

The two bills both aim to confront climate change by harnessing the power of the free market, a spokesperson for Rep. Waxman said, but offer different mechanisms for doing so. The Waxman bill would target power plants, for example, while the Boxer bill would focus on "upstream" emitters like coal mines and oil refineries. But both bills are likely to undergo tweaks before being officially introduced.

The exact price per ton of carbon pollution is still an open question (the lawmakers are seeking public input on this and other issues), but the draft bill purports to be based on the principle that "all revenue generated by the carbon pollution fee should be returned the American people." Options for this could include using the money to lower the federal deficit, or helping the public shoulder higher energy costs. - Mother Jones, 3/12/13

Senator Schatz and his colleagues need to hear your thoughts and input by April 12th.  If you're heavily involved in the environmentalist community, here are a few questions that need to be addressed:
* What is the appropriate price per ton for polluters to pay? The draft contains alternative prices of $15, $25, and $35 per ton for discussion purposes.

* How much should the price per ton increase on an annual basis? The draft contains a range of increases from 2 percent to 8 percent per year for discussion purposes.

* What are the best ways to return the revenue to the American people? The discussion draft proposes putting the revenue toward the following goals, and solicits comments on how to best accomplish each: (1) mitigating energy costs for consumers, especially low-income consumers; (2) reducing the federal deficit; (3) protecting jobs of workers at trade-vulnerable, energy intensive industries; (4) reducing the tax liability for individuals and businesses; and (5) investing in other activities to reduce carbon pollution and its effects.

* How should the carbon fee program interact with state programs that address carbon pollution?

If you have more questions, feel free to contact any or their offices:

Senator Brian Schatz (D. HI): 202-224-3934

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D. RI): 202-224-2921

Senator Barbara Boxer (D. CA): 202-224-3553

Senator Bernie Sanders (I. VT): 202-224-5141

Congressman Henry Waxman (D. CA-33): 202-225-3976

Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D. OR-3): 202-225-4811

Originally posted to pdc on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, DK GreenRoots, and Climate Change SOS.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    Funny Stuff at

    by poopdogcomedy on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 08:45:46 AM PDT

  •  This propsal needs some perspective (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    What would $20/ton do to the price of a gallon of gas, or to the electricty costs for the average homeowner?

    This cost would need to be offset with credits for the average family for this to have any chance of passage.

    For workers whose jobs are put at risk, I would like to see not just job training but also relocation assistance. Training for a new job is great, but if the job is 100+ miles away, it really doesn't matter for the average worker.

    Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    by bear83 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:28:57 AM PDT

    •  Be sure to let the Senators and Congressmen hear (0+ / 0-)

      your input.  They're looking for it for the final draft.

      Funny Stuff at

      by poopdogcomedy on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 11:32:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think it would be 5.3 cents a gallon. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      According to the EPA, an average gallon of gas has 2,471 grams of carbon (5.3 pounds)

      5.3 pounds is .00265 of a ton.

      .00265 * $20/ton of carbon = $0.53/gallon of gas

      If my figures are correct, that's a pretty modest increase.

      •  Just a nickel a gallon? (0+ / 0-)

        The price of gas jumps that much over practically anything related to bad weather in the Gulf, Iran in the news, a refinery fire, or speculation on Wall Street.

        If it's just a nickel, the GOP would scream, but consumers wouldn't even notice.

        Filibuster reform, 2013 - woulda, coulda, shoulda.

        by bear83 on Thu Mar 14, 2013 at 01:29:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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