Solana Beach to consider carbon tax bills in Congress

SB City Hall
(Staff photo)

With a growing climate crisis, the Solana Beach Climate Action Commission will consider the carbon tax bills in Congress and recommend the ones that it thinks the Solana Beach City Council should support with a resolution.

“The environmental, health and social costs of carbon emissions are not included in prices paid for fossil fuels, but rather these externalized costs are borne directly and indirectly by all Americans and global citizens,” Assistant City Manager Dan King said in a presentation to the council on Jan. 27.

Those bills include the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, which is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Levin, D-San Juan Capistrano, whose district includes coastal North County. Other House members in San Diego’s congressional delegation, including Reps. Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, are also among its 86 cosponsors. The bill would place a fee on crude oil, natural gas, coal and other fuels that release greenhouse gases. The fees would go into a Carbon Dividend Trust that would offset costs passed along to customers.

Given the partisan nature of legislation on climate change, the fate of any of these bills in Congress remains uncertain. Of the 86 co-sponsors on the Carbon Dividend Act, only one is Republican. If approved by the slim Democratic majority in the House, it will likely have a small margin of error to win approval in a Senate with 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats.

Instead of adopting a resolution to support the Carbon Dividend Act during their meeting last week, council members wanted the city’s Climate Action Commission to evaluate some of the leading carbon tax bills in Congress before they adopt a resolution to support any of them.

“We should take a little bit of a pause and have the CAC take a look at it and come back to us with something that they’re more comfortable with,” Solana Beach City Councilwoman Jewel Edson said.

City Councilman David Zito said it’s important that the city sends a “concrete and clear” message.