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Getting the drift

President Trump campaigned on promises of creating new jobs, reducing regulations, limiting the size of our federal government, and increasing national security. Sen. Steve Daines, Sen. Jon Tester and Rep. Ryan Zinke (and his replacement) could help us all by supporting the following plan.

In early February, senior Republicans, including former secretaries of State and Treasury George P. Shultz and James Baker, Rob Walton (chairman of the Board of Walmart from 1992-2015), and Ted Halstead (president and CEO of the Climate Leadership Council), promoted the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax. They presented the plan, called “The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends: How a new climate strategy can strengthen our economy, reduce regulation, help working-class Americans, shrink government and promote national security” to the White House. These folks and others form the Climate Leadership Council (clcouncil.org).

This plan meets President Trump’s goals.

Shultz and Baker outlined the plan in The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 7: “First, creating a gradually increasing carbon tax” — at the source (well, mine, port of entry).

“Second, returning the tax proceeds to the American people in the form of dividends.

“Third, establishing border carbon adjustments that protect American competitiveness and encourage other countries to follow suit.

“And fourth, rolling back government regulations once such a system is in place.”

This plan puts money in our pockets and increases our incomes. During the first year, a family of four would receive roughly $2,000 in carbon dividends. The plan would also incentivize individuals and companies to find efficient ways to reduce our carbon emissions and innovate new sources of energy and carbon reducing technologies. Think insulate your home, buy LEDs and a fuel-efficient vehicle, and energy-efficient appliances, produce goods from alternatives to fossil-fuel based sources. Think electric cars and trucks, as well as farm equipment that uses renewable energy: wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal.

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I applaud that GOP leaders are making a proposal and working to convince the White House that climate change needs to be acted on now. I am concerned about roll-back of regulations that are vital to the protection of our air, water and wild lands. And ultimately our health and prosperity.

It’s time for conservatives and liberals to embrace a market-based solution like this and help make America a leader in the world in energy and technology innovation.

 

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Marya Grathwohl, of Billings, is founding director of Earth Hope.

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