Proposed law forces fossil fuel companies to pay public fee

CHICAGO, IL — Congress has introduced H.R. 763 known as the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019  in which fossil fuel companies would pay a carbon emissions fee at the point of entry for their products. It’s expected that companies would gradually increase fossil fuel product prices, decreasing our use of polluting fuels and shift toward safer, cleaner energy sources like wind and solar.

This fee would go into a “Carbon Fees Trust Fund” and 100% of the money in this fund would be divided up and sent out to all American households in equal “dividend” shares per adult every month (children receive a half-share). Any resident with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number would qualify. A social security number would not be mandatory.

Families would have a strong incentive to make cleaner and cheaper purchases while pocketing the extra dividend money each month. By returning the fee’s revenue to households, most families come out ahead. In fact 78% of Latino households are predicted to earn more in the dividend payments than they would pay in increased costs. The average household benefiting would earn an extra $363 in one year alone. Of the 22% of Latino households not benefiting, the average cost would be about $145 in the first year. No policy is perfect, but this would be a first good step for healthier communities for future generations to come.

Our elected officials NEED to hear from us to pass effective climate legislation. The time to act is NOW. Write or call your congressman to let them know that air pollution and climate change are important issues for you. The Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing demographics in the country. Let’s make our voices heard!

Rose Gomez is a Citizens Climate Lobby volunteer

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