Rubio fights cap-and-trade charges

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Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioWar over the estate tax returns Clinton’s strategy: Get under Trump’s skin Rubio, Heck help out at car crash scene MORE’s (R-Fla.) presidential campaign fought charges Wednesday that he once endorsed a cap-and-trade system to fight climate change.

Earlier in the day, a video from 2008 resurfaced that shows Rubio, then Speaker of Florida's House, discussing a potential cap-and-trade or tax system for carbon dioxide emissions in the state.

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“I'm in favor of giving the Florida Department of Environmental Protection a mandate, that they go out and design a cap-and-trade or a carbon tax program and bring it back to the Legislature for ratification sometime in the next two years,” he says in the video of a local public-access television program that was first reported by Breitbart News.

It's unclear who posted the video, but Breitbart quoted Rick Tyler, a spokesman for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), saying that the video and Rubio’s record “shows a questionable fidelity to some of the most important issues for conservatives.”

Cruz and Rubio are competing for the GOP presidential nomination.

In a blog post, Rubio's campaign said the video was deceptively edited and noted it had first surfaced during Rubio’s 2010 Senate campaign against then-Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

In a part of the video edited out, Rubio says Florida’s environmental agency should submit the cap-and-trade plan to lawmakers, not implement it.

“I’m not in favor of them designing it and implementing it,” he said. “I’m in favor of them designing it and then bringing it back to the Legislature for ratification.”

Rubio added that Florida should clean up its environment "not through government mandates" but "through the American innovator.”

Cap-and-trade, in which polluters trade a finite amount of credits for the pollution they generate, was once popular among Republicans as a market-based solution to climate change.

But it’s now extremely unpopular in the GOP. Republicans argue it would increase energy costs and unnecessarily punish certain energy sources such as fossil fuels.

To back up Rubio’s position, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the senate’s most vocal climate change doubter and chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, put out a statement supporting Rubio’s claim.

“To suggest that Marco supported cap-and-trade in Florida is absurd,” Inhofe said. “Not only did Marco block Charlie Crist’s radical environmental agenda, but he has stood with me every step of the way to stop President Obama’s job-killing energy policies, including cap-and-trade.”

Inhofe claimed a national cap-and-trade system, which died in Congress in 2010, would have cost between $300 billion and $400 billion a year, or $3,000 per family.

Inhofe endorsed Rubio for president on Jan. 9.