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Ted Deutch, Charlie Crist and Francis Rooney introduce the “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” a carbon tax that would offer rebates to taxpayers.

Federal

Ted Deutch, Charlie Crist, Francis Rooney introduce climate change carbon bill

Five days ago, a White House report gave a dire warning: Climate change would cost America billions of dollars annually.

On Wednesday, three Florida U.S. House members, two Democrats and a Republican, introduced a bill to set up a growing carbon tax that aims to reduce the country’s carbon footprint.

Led by Democratic U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch of Boca Raton, the bill also has co-sponsorships by Democratic U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist of St. Petersburg and Republican U.S. Rep. Francis Rooney of Naples along with another Republican from Pennsylvania and another Democrat from Maryland.

Their “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” would create a steadily growing tax on carbon emissions and on fluorinated gases, the two primary sources of pollution that science holds is leading to dramatic changes in global climate. American taxpayers would receive a rebate from revenues received.

“We have got to put the brakes on climate change. And with the introduction of this bill we take a step to show our colleagues and the country that there is a bipartisan solution to climate change that faces the risks to our health, our environment and our economy,” Deutch said during a news conference Wednesday morning in Washington.

Deutch is the co-founder and co-chair of the 92-member House Climate Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group, which includes nine Florida members, though two are not returning next year. Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo is the other co-founder and co-chair, but he lost re-election last month. Rooney and Crist also are members, along with Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Brian Mast, Bill Posey, and Matt Gaetz; and Democrat Stephanie Murphy.

Deutch and Crist bristled at questions suggesting that this bill has no chance, at least in the waning days of the 115th Congress, which ends in January. They argued that its introduction should set the stage for serious bipartisan discussion and spur interest in the 116th Congress.

Rooney did not attend the news conference, but sent a statement, read by Deutch.

“A revenue-neutral carbon fee is an efficient, market-driven incentive to move toward natural gas and away from coal and to support emerging alternative sources of energy,” Rooney’s statement declared.

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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