Sen. Flake to push oil-and-gas permitting on Energy panel

Flake said he sought out a seat on the committee.

He will join Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) among three new GOP members of the panel in the 113th Congress (it’s not Alexander’s first stint on the committee, however).

Flake reiterated that there’s one big idea he won’t press for in the Senate: a carbon tax.

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The Arizona Republican, when he was in the House, proposed a plan in 2009 that would have taxed fossil energy production while reducing payroll taxes.

Flake has since said that his support for a carbon tax was a tactical gambit to help slow momentum of cap-and-trade legislation, which collapsed in the Senate in 2010 after narrowly clearing the House in 2009.

He told E2-Wire Thursday that he does not believe a carbon tax should be imposed. “If not to head-off cap-and-trade, I would not have introduced that at all,” Flake said Thursday.

But he added that if policymakers were to put a cost on carbon pollution, a revenue-neutral carbon tax would be a more “honest” approach than cap-and-trade.

“If you are going to do it, that’s a far better way, every economist will tell you that,” Flake said in the Capitol. “Cap-and-trade, as it was put forward, was a revenue-grab, it’s money to Washington to fund priorities of members of Congress.”