Vitter opposes “carbon tax” legislation

David Vitter
David Vitter

Sen. David Vitter sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Tuesday asking if he will denounce new legislation that would impose a so-called “carbon tax” on industries regarding carbon pollution.

Earlier this month, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, No Party-Vt., filed legislation that proposes a new fee on carbon pollution emissions with the revenues funding energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass.

They said the proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.

Vitter, who is now the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has staunchly opposed any “carbon tax” that he argues would cause lost jobs and severely hurt the oil-and-gas industry.

White House officials have repeatedly said the president has no carbon tax proposal and has no plans to develop any such proposal.

“This request is pretty simple: are they going to stand by their statements and oppose any new carbon tax?” Vitter, R-La., said in his announcement. “It’s not just energy prices that would skyrocket from the Boxer-Sanders bill; the cost of nearly everything built in America would increase. Let’s not lose sight of how big of a dud cap-and-trade was in 2009.”

Vitter has introduced legislation along with 19 cosponsors that expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax is not in the economic interest of the United States.

Vitter last year sent Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner a letter asking for answers on his department’s involvement in any potential “carbon tax” legislation. Vitter also is pressing the Treasury Department for an economic analysis of a “carbon tax.”

Prior to the filing of the Boxer-Sanders bill, Boxer hosted an Environment and Public Works Committee briefing with scientists on the human impacts of increasing climate change.

James McCarthy, a Harvard University biological oceanography professor, said New Orleans will be largely underwater by the end of the century at the current rate of human-driven climate change and sea-level rising.

Vitter and other Republicans on the committee did not attend the briefing.