Strong Action - 27 East

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Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1380282

Strong Action

I was glad to read of U.S. Representative Lee Zeldin’s support for legislation that would include young farmers in a program to forgive student loans. But to help all farmers in Suffolk County, I’d urge him to join the push for a federal carbon fee, as embodied in HR763.

A carbon fee or tax is a price placed on fossil fuels at roughly the point of their refining or importing. This is the only mechanism enthusiastically embraced by economists to not only hold polluters financially responsible for the global warming that they continue to exacerbate but also to create a market mechanism to push us toward independence from fossil fuels.

The many millions of dollars in revenue from that fee should be distributed to every American family (just as a portion of oil revenues in Alaska are distributed to Alaskan citizens). With a fee on carbon as small as $15 per ton, studies estimate that every family would receive an annual distribution of $1,800. As the fee rises every year, the dividend to families will rise, too. The annual distribution will help offset increased prices passed on to the public.

Over half of the population is expected to receive more than the carbon fee costs them. The bigger your home(s), the more you drive or fly, the more the fee will cost you. And farmers’ use of fuel will be exempted from price hikes.

In addition, Americans will benefit from the creation of many new clean energy jobs, and from better health, thanks to cleaner air, as less and less fuel is burned. Most important, they will benefit by reducing the catastrophic effects of climate change.

For our farmers, our fishing industry, our tourism—for all of us—Suffolk County (and the world beyond) needs strong action from our Congress.

Diane EnglanderSouthampton

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