New Paltz Supports National Carbon Tax

The Town and Village Boards of New Paltz demonstrated their dedication to combat climate change in passing a resolution supporting a proposed national carbon tax. 

At the Sept. 11 joint meeting, the boards urged Congress to immediately enact the Energy Innovation Act and Carbon Dividend Act (ECIDA) of 2019. With this decision, board members further solidified New Paltz’s long-standing acknowledgment of climate change and its responsibility to reduce its contribution to global warming. 

“I wholeheartedly support this national carbon tax and think more of us should ride bikes to work,” said Mayor Tim Rogers in a Facebook post following the decision. “Congress should assess a national carbon fee on fossil fuels based on the amount of [carbon dioxide] the fuel emits when burned and distribute the fee to all U.S. households in equal shares in the form of a monthly dividend.”

Representative Theodore E. Deutch (D-FL-22) first introduced the ECIDA to Congress on Jan. 24 of this year. According to Congress.gov, the bill “imposes a fee on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.” 

“This aggressive carbon pricing scheme introduced by members from both parties marks an important opportunity to begin to seriously address the immediate threat of climate change,” Deutch said in a press release on his website. “The status quo is unsustainable; the time to act is right now.” 

The fee is targeted at producers and distributors of fuels containing greenhouse gases (GHG). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, GHGs trap heat in the earth’s atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluoride gases. The fee would be calculated by multiplying the fuels GHS content by the carbon rate. The carbon rate starts at $15 in 2019 and will increase by $10 annually, depending on how well emissions are reduced. New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act created a statewide commitment to reduce emissions to 40% below 1990 levels before 2020 and 80 to 95% under by 2050. 

Revenue collected from these fees will go into a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund, which will be used for administrative expenses. Another chunk of the money will be equally distributed to U.S. citizens and lawful residents to soften the blow of rising energy costs. Fee exemptions will be given for fuel used in agriculture, with the military and when companies capture and clean carbon dioxide before releasing it.   

This action aligns New Paltz’s desire to become a certified Climate Smart Community (CSC). After a lengthy registration process, CSCs receive better scores for state grants, streamlined resources for sustainable development and access to a network of like-minded communities. For more information on CSCs, visit https://climatesmart.ny.gov/

Max Freebern
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Max Freebern is a fourth-year journalism major who’s going into his fifth semester working for Oracle. He worked his way from a contributor, to copy editor and has served as the News editor for the past few semester. While he normally focuses on local government his true passion is writing immersive work and human profiles.