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Madson: Make companies pay for pollution

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Editor:

Sen. Barrasso recently cosponsored America’s Revegetation and Carbon Sequestration Act (ARCs Act), a bipartisan bill “to boost the natural carbon storage capacity of forests and rangelands (Casper Star-Tribune, Sept. 30, 2021). It has wide support in Wyoming, as do other bills such as the Growing Climate Solutions Act (cosponsored by Sen. Lummis) and the SCALE Act (included in the Infrastructure Bill and cosponsored by Representative Cheney). I appreciate all their efforts in finding solutions for our changing climate.

What else is needed beyond a myriad of legislation to address the transportation sector, land and industry emissions, the housing and building sector, the agricultural sector, etc? The one missing component is an incentive large enough to drive all needed solutions: a price on carbon.

A price on carbon, paid not by the taxpayers, but by the companies that emit the pollution, gives a clear market signal that businesses need to make their long-range plans. It also incentivizes the very technology that and innovation that Wyoming supports. It may sound counter-intuitive in an extractive state like ours, but a carbon price is a necessity. Pricing pollution will make it steadily more expensive to pollute. As the cost of pollution rises, the innovations needed to substantially reduce pollution will become more necessary and attractive as market forces push changes in our energy mix.

A price on carbon pollution is needed to drive the innovations we need at the scale we need, and is the method supported by over 3,600 economists, including several in Wyoming, support. (I invite you to learn more by reading the Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends at https://www.econstatement.org.)

ERIN MADSON, Cheyenne

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