Echo Action is a team of frontline community leaders, activists, friends and neighbours with the common goal of promoting clean, renewable energy throughout New Hampshire, our nation and planet for a safe, healthy and prosperous fossil-free future.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE PUC AND FOSSIL FUEL EXPANSION IN NH
Thursday, August 2nd, 6:00 pm
49 Community Way, Keene NH
* Across from Monadnock Food Co-Op: Please park with care as many areas are for residents or co-op customers.
D. Maurice Kreis, New Hampshire’s Consumer Advocate at the Public Utility Commission (PUC) visits Keene on Thursday, Aug 2nd. The Clean Energy Team is hosting a talk by Attorney Kreis on his role advocating for residential ratepayers in public utility proceedings and policy decisions. OCA Kreis will address the impact of public engagement and share his perspective on what issues matter to the PUC. The presentation starts at 6 PM at 49 Community Way, across from the Co-Op.
A panel discussion with educator and ECHO Action activist, Stephanie Scherr, Keene City Councilor, Terry Clark, and Attorney Richard Husband immediately follows the presentation. All three panelists are involved in dockets currently before the PUC and will share their experiences in “picking their battles,” and the opportunities for engagement by interested citizens.
The Clean Energy Team of Monadnock Progressive Alliance hosts educational events to help our neighbors and local businesses learn about the economic, environmental and health benefits of energy efficiency, weatherization, and renewable energy.
The event is free and open to the public.
Monadnock Progressive Alliances' Clean Energy Team
To those waiting for Republicans to take any legislative step toward mitigating the effects of man-made climate change: There's good news and bad news.
First, the good news: On Monday, a House Republican will finally put forward a piece of legislation designed to discourage the burning of fossil fuels. The measure from Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida does so by placing a price on emitting carbon dioxide, which is the sort of measure most economists see as the most cost-effective way of reducing the buildup of the key greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.
“I understand that the onus is on Republicans to step up and show that we're willing to tackle this issue in a meaningful way,” Curbelo said in an interview Thursday.
And the bad news? On that same day, 222 of Curbelo's GOP colleagues voted in favor of a resolution by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) declaring any such carbon tax would be “detrimental to the United States economy.”
The overwhelming success of the anti-carbon tax gesture shows the party led by President Trump — who personally rejects climate science — is far from ready to enact any measure to stem the release of more of greenhouse gases.
Representing a portion of South Florida already seeing frequent flooding, Curbelo has emerged as a lone voice with the GOP caucus trying to push his party toward embracing “market-based solutions” to a problem many Republicans refuse to even acknowledge.
But Curbelo is trying to make things less lonely for himself. He, along with fellow Floridian Rep. Ted Deutch (D), founded the Climate Solutions Caucus two years ago to commit a bipartisan group of House members to addressing climate change. At least at the surface, the results are encouraging for environmental advocates. So far, 43 Republicans have joined the caucus.
But environmentalists are less encouraged when they take a look at caucus members' voting records. On Thursday, only six GOP representatives broke with the party and voted against the resolution declaring carbon taxes detrimental. (One Republican Climate Solutions Caucus member voted present.)
It is “astounding that House Republicans would pass an anti-climate resolution with outrageous and factually dubious claims that rejects outright one viable option for addressing climate change,” Deutch said Thursday. “Every member of Congress, especially Climate Solutions Caucus members, should keep all options available.”
Still, some others saw progress. “The fact that six Republicans voted 'no' on an anti-carbon tax resolution is an indication that there are cracks in the wall separating Democrats and Republicans on climate change,” said Mark Reynolds, executive director of the Citizens' Climate Lobby, a grass-roots environmental group that helped organize the caucus. “When a similar resolution came up in the previous Congress, every Republican voted for it.”
Among those Republicans who switched sides on the nonbinding resolution was Curbelo himself.
“I understand for a lot of colleagues when you ask the question in a vacuum, as this resolution did, any tax hurts economic growth.” Curbelo said walking from the floor Thursday after the vote. “But once you put it in a broader context, it can make sense.”
The Florida Republican said while he did not have “a formal whip operation” on the anti-carbon tax resolution, “we did engage members” of the caucus.
He regarded the timing of the resolution from the actual House whip as “a defensive move.” Scalise's office said the timing of his resolution was coincidental.
Curbelo's bill would repeal the federal gasoline tax and replace it with a tax on carbon dioxide levied directly against energy companies and some manufacturers. In turn, the Environmental Protection Agency would be prohibited from regulating carbon dioxide emissions.
Revenue from the carbon tax would go toward housing low-income people, mitigating coastal flooding, researching alternative energy and assisting displaced coal workers.
But the bulk of it would go toward building new infrastructure. “This bill, in addition to being responsible policy, does attempt to capture the political energy of the moment,” Curbelo said.
“Perhaps the only one” of Trump's agenda items, Curbelo added, “that was popular across the American electorate was infrastructure investment.”
Curbelo's bill has earned the support of some environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, whose senior policy adviser Jason Albritton called it “a pretty thoughtful approach to the issue.”
Conservative donors who twist the arms of Curbelo's fellow Republicans quickly dismissed his proposal. “The mere thought of a carbon tax is tantamount to throwing a wet blanket on an economy ignited by tax reform,” said Brent Gardner of Americans for Prosperity, the main political organizing arm of billionaire oilman Charles Koch's donor network.
At the beginning of Trump's presidency, a group of senior Republican statesmen, including former secretaries of state James A. Baker and George P. Shultz, pitched a similar “carbon fee and dividend” to the White House. Under that plan, the federal government would tax carbon but would redistribute the revenue directly to taxpayers. Gary Cohn, then head of Trump’s National Economic Council, heard Baker and his team out.
The White House ultimately did not embrace the plan.