PLATTSBURGH — With unanimous support, the City Common Council voted to endorse the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.
Among other changes, the draft legislation, which is now in the hands of the U.S. House of Representatives, proposes a fee at the point of carbon extraction.
Citizens Climate Lobby Group Leader and Congressional Liaison Tim Palmer said such a move would encourage a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
"This act, as written, would reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and 90 percent by 2050," Palmer told the Common Council.
The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019 was first introduced to U.S. House of Representatives in January 2019.
The draft legislation would impose a steadily increasing fee or tax on fossil fuels as they enter the economy, meaning at the mine, wellhead or port.
"(It) would be a straightforward way to make effective use of free market mechanisms to promote the transition to greater energy conservation and renewable sources of energy," the city's resolution says.
And, it adds, a rebate of the collected revenue would be returned, in equal shares, to all U.S. residents.
"(Those shares) would mitigate the impact of rising energy prices for all households and generate many new clean energy jobs, while potentially improving the overall economy," the resolution says.
Palmer said the answer to climate change needed to ignore political party lines.
"Addressing climate concerns effectively, and for the long term, requires bipartisan support," he told the Common Council. "At the present time, we have 70 co-sponsors, but only one Republican."
That Republican has been listed as Rep. Francis Rooney of Florida.
"The growing bipartisan divide in D.C. makes it critical for elected leaders on Capital Hill to know that they have constituent support of climate action embodied in the act," he added.
"One way to do this is for elected representatives at the local level to make that clear by endorsing this legislation."
And, with the resolution's recent approval, the city has put itself on that list.
"The Common Council of the City of Plattsburgh calls on our representatives in the U.S. Congress to address climate change by adopting as one important measure, among others, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act," the resolution says.
Once city councilors voted in approval, Palmer praised their own bipartisanship.
"Because of our emphasis on bipartisanship, it's particularly notable that you've all voted unanimously to support (the act)," he said.
"I thank you on behalf of all future and present generations."
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