Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) has introduced legislation to “make American companies more competitive” while simultaneously addressing greenhouse gas emissions by imposing fees on high-carbon imports.
The bill known as the Clean Competition Act, would look to lower emissions globally by creating a “carbon border adjustment.” This policy would impose an adjustment on energy-intensive imports and incentivize decarbonization efforts in domestic manufacturing, according to Rep. Castor’s press release regarding the bill’s announcement.
Additionally, Industries such as fossil fuels, refined petroleum products, petrochemicals, fertilizer, hydrogen, adipic acid, cement, iron and steel, aluminum, glass, pulp and paper, and ethanol would be affected.
“As we work to reduce climate pollution and boost American jobs, we need a renewed focus on leveling the playing field for American goods and products that compete against products from countries that pollute and use unfair advantages,” said Rep. Castor. “The Clean Competition Act is an important complement to the new wave of American manufacturing jobs boosted by the historic Inflation Reduction Act. “
The Florida congresswoman continued by mentioning that this bill would protect American companies from unfair competition.
“American industries are leveraging a wide range of technologies to drive down industrial air pollution and achieve greater sustainability,” said Castor. “Our Clean Competition Act will help reward these innovations, strengthen America’s industrial base, and protect us from unfair competition in the global marketplace while ensuring that China and other nations are doing their part to reduce pollution and environmental impacts.”
75% of the fees levied from high-carbon imports would fund the efforts of American companies to reduce carbon footprints while 25% would be allocated to the State Department to “help developing countries decarbonize.”
Elizabeth Gore, the Senior Vice President for Political Affairs, Environmental Defense Fund, endorsed the bill.
“Manufacturing accounts for nearly one-quarter of U.S. climate pollution and is a rapidly growing sector globally. Reducing climate pollution is vital for a stable climate and healthy, thriving communities,” said Gore. “The Clean Competition Act can create a race to the top among global competitors as part of a larger effort to move toward a low-carbon economy, while opening a dialogue about additional efforts needed to address local pollution impacts on frontline communities.”
Republicans have a slim majority in the House of Representatives and with the expulsion of George Santos and the announced retirement of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy at the end of end of the year, this could be the best shot for this bill to pass in the 118th Congress.