Scott Pruitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, faces significant opposition from within his own party for disputing well-founded climate science, as reported in the March 9 Press Herald.

Pruitt said that carbon dioxide is not “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” He also objected to government regulations without congressional review and to policies that he believes economically disadvantage the U.S.

But Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, chair of the House bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, knows we have a carbon dioxide problem and believes that the EPA should address it. He said, “The EPA is tasked with the very responsibility of helping to lower the impact of carbon emissions, and for Mr. Pruitt to assert otherwise without scientific evidence is reckless and unacceptable.”

There is good news that can resolve this conflict. Take note of the carbon fee and dividend proposed by the bipartisan Citizens’ Climate Lobby, as well as the Climate Leadership Council’s Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends, mentioned in Marina Schauffler’s March 5 Sea Change column.

These proposals put a fee on fossil fuels, meet the terms of the Paris climate agreement and rebate all the money to U.S. citizens. They are revenue-neutral, market-driven and grow jobs and the economy, not government. They also address all three of Pruitt’s objections.

First, Republicans need not accept climate science to support economic growth bills like these. Second, such bills would be approved by Congress, and they would make most of the EPA’s regulations of carbon dioxide emissions unnecessary. Third, both proposals include a border tax to ensure other countries without carbon fees will not have an advantage.

It would make sense for Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and all Mainers who agree that climate change is a serious threat to Maine to support these bills.

Sarah Braik


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