Of the 48 co-sponsors of the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, only one of them is a Republican.

That information, according to Congress’s website as of Thursday, is one reason the Citizens’ Climate Lobby has gone to Washington, D.C., to do what its name implies — lobby for that number to change.

Peter Garrett, of Winslow, took a group of 21 Mainers to Washington, D.C., June 8-11 to lobby for the proposed legislation on behalf of the nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization. The bill would “create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund … to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy,” according to the bill text.

The fee, which would be imposed on the producers and importers of the fuels, is equal to the greenhouse gas content in tons of the fuel, multiplied by the carbon fee rate. The rate begins at $15 per ton and increases by $10 each year. The money collected from the fee would go back to U.S. citizens; those who would benefit the most would be people with smaller than average carbon footprints.

About 1,500 total CCL members from across the country joined Garrett’s group to lobby 526 members of Congress or their offices.

“I don’t know any other group that does this,” Garrett said, about the number of people with which the group spoke.


He said the group is still looking for Republican co-sponsors because the bill is intended to be bipartisan.

The only Republican Garrett was able to personally meet with was Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine. About 10 years ago, she proposed the Clear Act, which was similar to the Carbon Dividend Act. Collins is not, however, on a committee that could move the current legislation forward, so she is waiting for her peers to push it forward.

“Democrats are realizing how urgent the situation is,” Garrett said in an email, “and Republicans are coming around to the idea that there might be a market-based solution to climate change.”

Another Mainer who made the trip, Peter Monro, said Citizens’ Climate Lobby is in “active conversations” with representatives about improving the bill.

“The needle is moving in Congress toward action on climate,” he said in an email. “We have very little time to act to avoid disastrous consequences.

“Young Republicans are as concerned as young Democrats,” he added.


Philip Osgood, another Maine lobbyist, said the trip went “very well” and that in 2010 there were only about 80 people lobbying opposed to the about 1,500 this year.

Osgood said one of the concerns from the offices of Collins and Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, was that energy costs would increase. Osgood agreed they would, but noted the money is returned to people in checks.

Monro said Citizens’ Climate Lobby now has more than 130,000 volunteers nationwide.

Of the 1,500 who lobbied with his group, Garrett said, there were several hundred high school and college students lobbying.

Piper Christian, a high school student from Utah, presented about how a group of students got the Utah Legislature to pass a resolution that acknowledged climate change as a problem.

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