WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, released a new resolution Wednesday opposing any proposals for a so-called “carbon tax” on industries regarding carbon pollution.
The resolution is an effort from the Republican Study Committee, which is chaired by Scalise, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist and industry organizations to fight off any carbon tax legislation.
They argue that any such fees hurt the economy, businesses and end up as taxes passed onto the public.
While President Barack Obama’s administration has repeatedly stated the president has no plans to propose or push any carbon tax legislation, some Democrats in Congress have filed related legislation.
“There are liberals in Washington all around town still trying to push for a carbon tax,” Scalise said. “We’re going to stand strong in opposition to a carbon tax.”
Last month, for instance, Sens. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, No Party-Vt., filed legislation for a new fee on carbon dioxide pollution from oil, natural gas and coal. The revenue funding energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass, which do not emit carbon dioxide.
They said the proposal also would provide rebates to consumers to offset any efforts by oil, coal or gas companies to raise prices.
Such proposals are considered dead on arrival in the GOP-led House and unlikely to pass the Senate either anytime soon.
“We’re making it clear that a carbon tax ought not go anywhere,” Scalise said. “But it hasn’t gone away.”
Scalise was joined by Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden, and several other Republican congressmen and industry representatives, such as from the American Energy Alliance and the American Farm Bureau Federation. “Carbon tax is a heavy burden that comes down hard on hardworking Americans and those on a fixed income,” Fleming said.
Norquist, who is known for his anti-tax pledges, emphasized that a carbon tax hurts the middle class. He also argued that Obama has not shut the door on supporting “consumption taxes.”
“This is not a tax on carbon,” Norquist said outside the Capitol. “Carbon doesn’t pay taxes.
“This is a tax on people who drive cars,” Norquist said. “This is a tax on people who heat their homes in the winter.”
When asked whether the Republican Study Committee is doing anything to help fight climate change, Scalise argued again, “The science is not settled,” although an overwhelming majority of scientists disagree.
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.