Florida GOP rep seeks carbon tax to reduce pollution

Florida GOP rep seeks carbon tax to reduce pollution
© Greg Nash

A Florida Republican is bucking the party line and pushing a carbon tax as a way to stem global warming. 

A coming bill from Rep. Francis RooneyLaurence (Francis) Francis RooneyOvernight Energy: Trump issues rule replacing Obama-era waterway protections | Pelosi slams new rule as 'an outrageous assault' | Trump water policy exposes sharp divides 2 Democrats say they voted against war powers resolution 'because it merely restated existing law' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi plans to send impeachment articles next week MORE (R-Fla.) would impose a $30 tax per metric ton of carbon. It would also bar new regulations on power plants as long as they meet the emissions targets set by the bill.

Modeling from Rooney’s office shows the bill, which applies to fossil fuel producers and large industrial emitters, would reduce energy-related carbon pollution by approximately 42 percent by 2030.

A one page report on the bill obtained by The Hill shows the funds raised through the tax would be used to reduce payroll taxes for employees and employers, fund research into clean energy and compensate low-income households for increased costs.

Other bills have been introduced this year to implement a carbon tax, including a previous one from Rooney, but such proposals have largely been back by Democrats.

Many Republicans have opposed the idea of a carbon tax, including a resolution from Rep. Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Trump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' MORE (R-La.) that expressed “the sense of Congress that a carbon tax would be detrimental to the United States economy.”

Rooney’s bill is designed to give some regulatory certainty to power producers with a 12-year moratorium on new regulations, but the bill also includes a stopgap provision if the carbon tax doesn’t function as planned. 

“If emissions do not meet minimum reductions, then the carbon price can increase or the regulatory moratorium can be phased out,” according to the report. 

Rooney, along with other Florida Republicans, has also sponsored legislation to bar drilling off the Florida coast.