The latter tax, which is supported by Mr Wyden, is said to be designed to ensure that other countries with lax environmental rules are not able to sell their products at a lower price to American consumers and reap a competitive advantage. Under World Trade Organization rules, it might be difficult for the United States to impose such an import tax – essentially a tariff on goods from highly polluting countries – unless its own industries are also not subject.
Mr Wyden’s staff, who are now writing this language, are considering a national carbon tax that could start at $ 15 to $ 18 a tonne, and increase over time, according to two people familiar with the matter who don’t were not allowed to speak. on the file. The tax would be applied directly to coal mining companies, large natural gas processing plants, and petroleum refiners, based on the emissions associated with their products, with one exception: petroleum refiners would most likely be charged for producing diesel fuel and petrochemicals, but not gasoline – one way of trying to keep cost increases from hitting most American drivers at the pumps.
But even if they can win Ms. Sinema to the plan, others may not agree. Democrats still feel the sting of the failure of former President Barack Obama’s effort to pass a climate change bill that would have forced polluters to pay a levy for their fossil fuel emissions. After the House passed it in 2009, Republicans campaigned against it as an “energy tax.” The bill failed in the Senate and contributed to the loss of the House of Democrats in 2010.
Climate activists are trying to argue to Ms Sinema that times and climate policy have changed. “I can tell you that our volunteers have made 1,444 calls and emails to the Arizona Senate and House offices over the past few months,” wrote Steve Valk, spokesperson for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, who wants a price for carbon pollution.
A crucial test of whether Ms. Sinema would support a carbon tax would be its effects on Arizona’s economy. His state has suffered record-breaking droughts, which scientists say have been made worse by climate change – and is home to a growing solar energy industry.
Robert Aiken, vice president of federal affairs at Pinnacle West Capital, a Phoenix-based company that owns Arizona’s largest electric utility, said he spoke with a staff member on Thursday at ‘an Arizona congressional office regarding a possible carbon tax provision. in the finance bill.
“We were just told about it from Capitol Hill an hour ago, for the first time,” he said Thursday afternoon. He said the company could not yet say whether it would support the legislation until it took a close look at the details.