Making a case for House Bill 872 and Senate Bill 481: An Act Establishing a Climate Change Superfund and Promoting Polluter Responsibility, filed by Sen. Jamie Eldridge and Rep. Steve Owens. AKA, the Make Polluters Pay bill.
In April 2021, I met with Senator Markey’s office about a climate accountability concept, and true to his nature; he was incredibly enthusiastic about the potential for making those responsible for climate damages be the ones to pay for those damages. As a result of his excitement, our meeting was followed by many others, including Senator Schumer of New York, Senator Sanders of Vermont, and Senator Van Hollen of Maryland, who subsequently, in August of that same year, filed groundbreaking legislation to Make POLLUTERS PAY FOR CLIMATE DAMAGE. He was joined by Senator Markey, Senator Warren, Senator Whitehouse, Senator Merkley, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Congressman Jamaal Bowman soon followed, leading the House companion legislation.
Similar to ours, the legislation required the biggest polluters to pay their fair share for a just, clean energy transition and federal adaptation efforts. The legislation was titled the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act, and it required the largest U.S.-based fossil fuel extractors, oil refiners, and foreign-owned companies doing business in the U.S. to pay into a Polluters Pay Climate Fund based on a percentage of their global emissions.
However, after much deliberation, it was decided that the states were better suited for the inevitable full-blown assault brewing from the fossil fuel industry.
Now we have this necessary approach filed here in Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, and Vermont, and we are hearing that other states are waiting in the wings.
Why? Because It is now well documented that at the very least Exxon hired scientists more than 30 years ago to study the effects of their product, found out it was detrimental to all living species, and then lied about their findings, single-handedly killing the Kyoto Protocol which was our first attempt to tackle climate change in a meaningful way in the 1990s. The level of deceit is of epic proportions. At this point, to allow the fossil fuel industry to continue business as usual without holding them accountable is enabling an industry that is proven criminal in its wanton fraud and disregard for its actions which are currently leading all species, including the human race, towards a massive extinction event. To quote Al Gore, “The Climate Crisis is like a nature hike through the book of revelations that builds demand for meaningful action” I urge you —on principle– to take that meaningful action and report this bill out favorably.
If we tapped into a fraction of their blockbuster profits, we could finally do right by environmental justice communities —-AND we could build the world we and future generations deserve.
Better Future Project and 350 Mass
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