Car­bon tax will clean the air

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND VOICES - Dr. Ta­mara Kel­logg, Wash­ing­ton

Scott Dance’s ar­ti­cle, “Mary­land asks EPA to crack down on pol­lu­tion from Mid­west coal plants” (Nov. 16), high­lights the prob­lem with reg­u­la­tion. Rules seem like a smart fix, but busi­nesses do the bare min­i­mum to com­ply be­cause of costs. Now­states are su­ing the EPA over air pol­lu­tion. Coal plants re­quire up­grades, the EPA re­quires mon­i­tors. Ev­ery­one re­quires lawyers. Watch­dog groups ad­vo­cate for “breathers in Mary­land.” As if we don’t all breathe. The whole thing is an en­tan­gled in­ter­state reg­u­la­tory ex­pen­sive mess.

How great it would be if the Repub­li­can Congress made all this moot by en­act­ing a na­tion­wide car­bon fee and div­i­dend plan? CO2 emis­sions par­al­lel other nox­ious gases, and so forget cli­mate change: It’s good for health. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan is held up in court, but Re­pub­li­cans can beat it with this freemar­ket, small-gov­ern­ment so­lu­tion sup­ported by Ge­orge Shultz. Sure, Wash­ing­ton state re­jected a rev­enue-neu­tral car­bon tax this month, but that’s be­cause it’s il­log­i­cal at the state level.

This en­tire na­tion of breathers shares air. Study af­ter study shows that smart car­bon pric­ing im­proves health and saves lives. It’s time for the Re­pub­li­cans to be true con­serveatives and pass an el­e­gant, pro-mar­ket plan for work­ing fam­i­lies’ health.

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