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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: June 7, 2019 05:09 PM
From: Representative Christopher M. Rabb
To: All House members
Subject: Establishing a per-ton fee on greenhouse gas emissions for PA’s biggest corporate polluters
The time has come to make a big investment in the future of this Commonwealth. Reducing carbon emissions is imperative to ensuring the health, safety, and welfare of Pennsylvanians. The amazing thing is that we can simultaneously create a pathway for clean energy initiatives that will grow jobs and help diversify the economy, thereby making Pennsylvania a leader in green technology. This can be done by placing a reasonable tax on carbon emissions --"carbon pricing"-- and using that revenue to provide assistance to low-income customers, support the transition of schools and businesses to more efficient and clean energy, provide job training to workers displaced from fossil fuel jobs, and invest in growing the green energy workforce.

The most recent data shows that the total statewide gross greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for Pennsylvania is 287 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e).

That means the amount of pollution we produce in Pennsylvania is equivalent to the approximate weight of 16,650 school buses.

Some of that comes from the cars we drive, approximately 55.97 MMTCO2e, which is why we pay a gas tax. But, 148.81 MMTCO2e comes from industry and electricity production, like coal, petroleum, and natural gas. So, like the gas tax, this proposed fee would be imposed on all producers who emit greenhouse gases, whether that pollution comes from a well, mine or reactor, to allow reinvestment in the reduction of GHG emissions.

This is not a partisan issue. It’s not even a bipartisan issue. It’s a nonpartisan issue. We are all inhabitants of this planet and we are all in this together. To that point, our own Republican Congressman, Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, sponsored legislation with a group of bipartisan members of Congress and U.S. senators to begin "carbon pricing". If Washington can come together to combat this global threat, Pennsylvania certainly can!

My bill sets rates lower than Congressman Fitzpatrick’s bill and not only allows for investments to be made in maintaining family-sustaining jobs but slows the effects of GHG emissions, creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

The scientific community considers GHGs emitted by humans to be the primary cause of climate change. In economic terms, the emission of GHGs is a negative externality – meaning it is a cost suffered by a third party not involved in an economic transaction. The most effective way to stem a negative externality is to internalize it by taxing it.

This proposed legislation doesn’t choose winners or losers. Instead, it lets the marketplace decide, which is why economists agree that such a fee is the best way to address climate change

If you believe the corporations, who are Pennsylvania’s biggest polluters, should pay their fair share, please cosponsor my forthcoming bill!

Introduced as HB2978