Utah lawmaker plans to tackle climate change with Carbon Tax

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) - No more tiptoeing around the issue, a Utah lawmaker plans to tackle climate change head on. Representative Joel Briscoe plans to introduce a Carbon Tax bill during the 2017 legislative session.

"Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, everyone is not entitled to their own facts. And this is a fact, increasing temperatures in Utah," said Rep. Joel Briscoe. "Climate change is happening in Utah."

Rep. Briscoe says it's finally time Utah does something about it. That's why he's announced plans for a carbon tax. "Whether you call it a fee or a tax, the concept is to make polluters pay," explained Briscoe.

Briscoe says the bill will be modeled after British Columbia's carbon tax. The tax in the canadian province charges carbon producers the equivalent of about $23 U.S. per metric ton. The fee is passed on to consumers at gas pumps and on electricity bills. In B.C. the price of gas has risen by roughly 25 U.S. cents per gallon.

But as Briscoe points out it's worked, gas consumption and carbon emissions are down. "It's not ruined their economy," said Briscoe. "They have grown slightly faster than the rest of Canada and it's lowered their carbon emissions by I think somewhere between 17 and 20%."

Briscoe's bill will be revenue neutral. Which means the tax revenues could be used to offset other taxes, or the money made could be issued back to those Utahns who are hardest hit by the bill.

A similar bill was narrowly voted down in Washington State last month.


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