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  • Allison Stalker

Obama Nominates New Head of the EPA

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

While it has a slim-to-none chance of passing through the current Senate or the House, new climate and energy legislation was revealed on February 14th by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif). Called the Climate Protection Act of 2013, climate activists seem to like its contents, while climate deniers are not as thrilled.

A summary of the climate bill from Sander’s office states the following: “Under the legislation, a fee on carbon pollution emissions would fund historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. The proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.”

The numbers behind the bill include a carbon fee of $20 per ton of carbon or methane equivalent, rising at 5.6% a year over ten years. The goal of the bill is an 80% reduction of long-term emissions by 2050. They estimate that the carbon fee would raise $1.2 trillion in revenue over ten years and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2005 levels to 2025 levels.

So where would the money go? The summary states that a portion of the revenue would be invested in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies including the following:

  • Weatherizing 1 million homes per year – this would create jobs and save households money on their energy bills

  • Tripling the budget for the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E)

  • Creating a Sustainable Technologies Finance Program – through public-private partnerships, $500 billion would be used for investments in wind, solar, geothermal, advanced biomass and biofuels, ocean and tidal energy, hydropower, advanced transportation projects, and energy efficiency technologies

  • Investing in domestic manufacturing

  • Funding $1 billion a year in worker training – to help move workers into jobs in the clean energy economy

Because fossil fuel companies may increase prices due to the carbon fee, the bill also proposed that 3/5ths of the revenue be used to fund the Family Clean Energy Rebate Program. This program is modeled after Alaska’s oil dividend program and would provide a monthly rebate to every U.S. resident.

The bill also includes a provision that would apply the same carbon fee to imported fuels and products, unless the exporting nation has a similar climate program and already charges a carbon fee.

Even if this bill won’t make it through the Senate or the House, it may be a good step in continuing the conversation on legislation focused on the climate. Boxer expects the bill to hit the Senate floor by the summer. In any case, it will be interesting to follow its progress.

To view the 2-page summary of the bill, click here.

To view the entire bill, click here.

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