U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, sent a letter to President Obama today asking if the Administration will stand behind their statements that they do not support and would not propose a carbon tax, and denounce the bill in the Senate to implement a carbon tax. U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) recently introduced legislation to implement a carbon tax.
"This request is pretty simple: are they going to stand by their statements and oppose any new carbon tax?" said Vitter. "It's not just energy prices that would skyrocket from the Boxer-Sanders bill, the cost of nearly everything built in America would increase. Let's not lose sight of how big of a dud cap and trade was in 2009."
This week Treasury Secretary Nominee Jack Lew said, "The Administration has not proposed a carbon tax, nor is it planning to do so," in his written responses to the Senate Finance Committee. At a November 15, 2012 press gaggle, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said, "We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one."
Vitter has introduced legislation along with 19 cosponsors that expresses the sense of Congress that a carbon tax is not in the economic interest of the United States.
Vitter recently sent Secretary Timothy Geithner a letter asking for answers on his department's involvement in proposing a "carbon tax." Treasury has since denied a request for the documents under a Freedom of Information Act request, even though in a response to Vitter, they promised Congress it will work in good faith to produce documents relating to the carbon tax. Vitter is also pressing Treasury for an economic analysis of a "carbon tax." Click here to read a copy of Vitter's letter.
Earlier today, the National Association of Manufacturers released a study showing a carbon tax would have a "devastating impact on manufacturing." Read the report, Economic Outcomes of a U.S. Carbon Tax, here.
The text of Vitter's letter is below. A pdf copy can be found here.
February 26, 2013
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
Senators Boxer and Sanders recently proposed legislation that would, among other things, impose a carbon tax on American consumers and businesses, create a new federal regulatory program aimed squarely at the shale gas revolution, and terminate the federal clean coal program.
Given the Administration's statements that you do not support and would not propose a carbon tax, given your consistent rhetorical support for the new unconventional production of natural gas and oil, and given your budgetary and rhetorical support for clean coal, I write to ask for your thoughts about the proposed legislation, as well as any Administration position on the legislation.
As you may know, you and I share many of the same concerns about these issues. I look forward to your reply.
U.S. Senate Committee on
Environment and Public Works