Massachusetts volunteers tell Congress to price carbon

[Submitted by Gary Rucinski, of CCL which works with individuals and elected representatives from all parts of the political spectrum to find ways of mitigating climate change. They are currently working to build support for the Save Our Climate Bill as a means of establishing a Carbon Fee and Dividend.]

Citizens Climate Lobby in D.C.

CONTACT: Gary Rucinski, gary@rucinskis.com, 617-803-8038

F O R    I M M E D I A T E    R E L E A S E

WASHINGTON, July 30 – As the worst U.S. drought in half a century grips much of the nation and experts point to climate change as a factor, volunteers from Massachusetts came to the nation’s capital last week to ask that Congress put a price on carbon that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Massachusetts residents Susan Labandibar, Gary Rucinski, Jack Thorndike, Karen van Hoek, and David Gordon Wilson joined volunteers from the U.S. and Canada attending the Third Annual Citizens Climate Lobby International Conference in Washington, D.C. They visited the offices of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation to make their case for a progressive, revenue-neutral tax on carbon. Legislation for such a tax has been introduced in the U.S. House as the Save Our Climate Act (H.R. 3242). (Massachusetts Representatives Michael Capuano, James McGovern, and John Olver are co-sponsors of HR 3242.) They thanked Rep. Capuano personally for signing on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 3242.

For Gary Rucinski, the group leader of the Boston area CCL chapter, the visits on Capitol Hill left him hopeful that the U.S. could start reducing greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late:

“I was energized by how we doubled the number of conference attendees and meetings on the Hill compared to last year’s conference. Congressional aides listened to our position and demonstrated their respect for CCL’s work by asking detailed questions about our proposal for putting a price on carbon. They are striving to find solutions and grateful for citizen involvement.”

At a packed reception held at the end of their first lobbying day, Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA), co-sponsor of the Save Our Climate Act, told volunteers, “This is about future generations more than it is about us, because things are going to get worse if we don’t dramatically alter the political and legislative trends of this country.”

Former Rep. Bob Inglis (R-SC), who introduced a carbon tax bill in the previous Congress but lost his bid for re-election, spoke to an appreciative crowd about making the case for a carbon tax: “What you’re here to do is to help people in Congress to see that there are people willing to see the true costs [of fossil fuels]… The conservatives can get into this thing if we can show that this is about free enterprise and accountability. It’s about fixing market distortions so that true costs are accounted for.”

A few days before CCL’s conference, Inglis launched his Energy & Enterprise Initiative to talk about the conservative rationale for a revenue-neutral carbon tax. An introductory video on the Initiative’s home page features former Reagan economist Art Laffer.

CCL Executive Director Mark Reynolds came away from the week of lobbying buoyed by the prospects for a carbon tax in the next Congress.

“We’ve had some great conversations on the Hill this week with a number of Republican offices, which makes me optimistic that we can get a bi-partisan bill introduced early in the next Congress. The big topic of the moment right now is the fiscal cliff, but the climate cliff will make that look like a picnic if we don’t put a price on carbon soon.”

www.citizensclimatelobby.org

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