President Obama's climate plan announcement was an understandable attempt to address these problems. But big-government, top-down solutions are almost always less effective than free market ones. We were on the Hill advocating that fossil fuels be treated, fairly, exactly like every other economic activity in our region.
If the Susquehanna Steam or Three Mile Island nuclear power spills radiation into our area, the companies operating these plants will be responsible for cleanup. If any of the factories in our town are found to be damaging our health, they will need to pay for the associated costs.
Yet because the full environmental and health damages from fossil fuels have only recently come to be understood, fossil fuels still enjoy a "free ride" for their pollution and an unfair market advantage relative to nuclear, renewables, and even natural gas.
Citizens Climate Lobby, a non-partisan organization of concerned citizens, proposes to rectify this with a four part solution.
First, we would like to impose a steadily-rising carbon pollution fee at the well, mine, or point of import for the fuel in question.
Second, we would like 100 percent of this fee refunded, as a monthly rebate check, to all American households. Most ordinary Americans would receive much more from the government under this plan than what they would pay in increased energy, transportation, or goods costs. This would also prevent this fee from being used to expand the size of government.
Third, we support a border tariff adjustment to protect American industry -- like, say, our local Sunbury Textiles -- from being placed at a competitive disadvantage. Foreign countries would be able to avoid paying tariffs if they instituted similar carbon fees of their own.
Fourth, we support the elimination of all energy subsidies, whether to fossil fuels, renewables, or any other source.