Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 25, 2019

Contact:  Brett Hartl, (202) 817-8121,

Carbon Dividend Bill in House Would Gut Clean Air Act Authority to Stop Climate Change

WASHINGTON— Legislation introduced Thursday by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.) would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate and address greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and mobile sources like cars, trains and airplanes in exchange for a carbon dividend fee on fossil fuels. The legislation would prohibit the EPA from establishing binding Clean Air Act standards or regulation for at least 10 years.

“We don’t have a decade to cross our fingers and hope a huge giveaway to fossil fuel companies gets us out of the climate crisis,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It makes no sense to gut the world’s most successful pollution-reduction program in favor of the myth that deregulation will solve this problem. Crippling the Clean Air Act will only give us climate disaster.”

The “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” would place a $15 fee on every metric ton of carbon, which would rise by $10 per year until emissions targets are met, with most revenue returned to individuals and households in the form of a dividend.

The landmark 2007 Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA held that the EPA could regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act if the agency found that they endanger public health or welfare. Following the Obama administration’s 2009 determination that greenhouse gases did in fact endanger the public, the EPA enacted a suite of protective measures to address greenhouse gas emissions from new and existing power plants, as well as some mobile sources.

Under the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” all of these efforts would effectively be repealed, and the EPA would lose nearly all authority to address climate change.

“Setting a price on carbon that truly changes behavior is a potentially valuable tool in the fight against climate change but you can’t throw out the rest of the toolbox,” said Hartl. “A low carbon fee by itself won’t work, and discarding the Clean Air Act to make this seem politically palatable is just folly.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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