Carbon bill would buoy economy, health
Congratulations to Patton Township supervisors for passing a resolution earlier this month urging the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.
This bill — House Resolution 763— is effective, good for people, good for the economy, bipartisan and revenue-neutral. As the township’s resolution says, it would “… not economically burden Patton Township nor its citizens.”
The act places a fee of $15 per ton on carbon to be collected by the Treasury Department at the first point of sale: mines, refineries and gas wells. The fee rises by $10 per ton per year. But the government does not keep the money. The funds will be distributed to each U.S. household in equal monthly per-person dividends.
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This will drive down carbon pollution because the powerful price mechanism will move energy companies, all industries that use fossil fuels, and consumers to seek cleaner, less expensive options. It is a market-based solution.
Passage would reduce America’s carbon emissions by at least 40 percent within 12 years. It would improve health by reducing the pollution that Americans breathe. And it would put money directly into people’s pockets every month to spend as they see fit, helping low-and middle-income Americans.
This legislation is a major first step in slowing global warming. I commend Patton Township for supporting its passage.
Memo to lawmakers: Pass a severance tax
Seriously, folks, to me a Marcellus Shale tax is a no-brainer, unless of course you’re a Republican or Democrat accepting mucho money from the natural gas industry.
As stated on the front page of the Centre Daily Times on Feb. 1, 2019, “Pennsylvania is the only major natural gas state that does not tax the product.”
So come on, Pennsylvania lawmakers: Approve a severance tax on Marcellus Shale natural gas production! These drillers aren’t going to leave the state and go somewhere else. These companies will only leave after taking all they want. “All mining exhausts the deposit.” (Bernard DeVoto)
Then and only then will they leave, and when they do, they’ll leave scars that will take years to heal.
A question of Penn State priorities
Has Penn State lost its way? The athletic director is paid $1.2 million; the football coach is paid $5.6 million. Based on average salaries, together their salaries would cover the cost of over 120 elementary school teachers or 80 Penn State faculty members. The university president wants more money to fund education. It seems as though the university has its priorities totally out of order. Put education first, sports second.
Rule change would threaten fisheries
As a trained fisheries biologist, former employee and contractor for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and member of Spring Creek Trout Unlimited, I’ve spent years studying the benefits of headwater streams for wild trout.
The world-class trout fisheries here in Centre County are not here by accident. They’re a result of decades of hard work from conservation groups, local and state agencies, and smart regulations.
We can thank the 2015 Clean Water Rule for providing federal protection for headwater streams and wetlands, which safeguards our clean water at the source from unchecked development and pollution.
Headwater streams and wetlands retain and release storm water gradually, preventing floods and protecting their receiving waters from drought. Even the smallest of these streams, including ones that go dry seasonally, provide spawning grounds and nurseries for wild trout. Over the years, I have lost count of how many landowners have been shocked after my crew documented a handful of newly hatched trout in a small stream on their property. “I can’t believe there are fish in there,” they would tell me.
In February, the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released a proposed revision to the 2015 “Waters of the United States” rule that would weaken protections and threaten our cherished fisheries. I urge you to join me in submitting public comments in opposition of this proposed rule and stand up for our right to clean water. Comments are due by April 15 and can be submitted online at regulations.gov.