Democrats look to tax big polluters


Via Flickr.

Eleanor Hildebrandt | August 5, 2021

Democrats in Washington D.C. are looking to tax a handful of major gas and oil companies who are causing harm to the environment.

Senator Chris Van Hollen from Maryland has drafted legislation in recent days that would have the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency identify companies that have released large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in recent years. After determining the biggest polluters, the bill would assess a fee for companies based on what kind and the amount of emissions they’ve released since 2000.

The collected fees would go to research and development of clean energy solutions as well as to the communities across the county suffering from climate crises, like flooding and wildfires. The proposal comes on the heels of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that allocates billions of dollars to prepare and recover from climate change events. The infrastructure legislation has yet to be passed, but shows a commitment to funding initiatives that address climate change.

Scientists have linked increased flooding, more frequent wildfires, and other prominent disasters to the burning of fossil fuels. The drafted bill would attempt to holds fossil fuel companies accountable for the cost of such weather events.

Van Hollen told The New York Times on Wednesday that the drafted bill would collect $500 billion in the next decade. He is optimistic that the draft would have support from his Democratic colleagues if he introduced it in the U.S. Senate. Some of the companies that would be fined would be Exxon Mobil and Chevron.

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