In their letter, the supporting members of Congress encouraged leadership to prioritize the addition of the groundbreaking proposal led by Sen. Chris Van Hollen in the Senate and Rep. Bowman in the House, the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act – a piece of legislation that would require the largest climate polluters to pay at least $500 billion into the Polluters Pay Climate Fund based on their respective percentage of global emissions. Co-leading the letter with Rep. Bowman are Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Tom Suozzi (D-NY).
A large, bipartisan majority of Americans believe fossil fuel companies must be held responsible to address the climate crisis they were mainly responsible for creating. These companies have benefited from a business model that has generated trillions of dollars in profits but also catastrophic levels of greenhouse gas emissions. After engaging in decades of harmful conduct, these companies must begin to pay for the enormous climate costs the nation faces.
“This week, Hurricane Ida devastated lives and homes in my district and across the country. And that was just the latest in a long series of environmental catastrophes including storms, chronic flooding, and extreme heat, which have disproportionately harmed Black and brown communities that have been redlined and marginalized for decades,” said Rep. Bowman. “Climate change is an emergency, and we know exactly who is responsible: the fossil fuel industry. As we finally begin to invest the trillions needed to protect each other, heal our communities, and transform our society for the better, we also need to make sure that those companies start paying for their pollution. I’m proud to be leading dozens of House members in calling for a polluter pays assessment in the reconciliation bill, and working with Sen. Van Hollen, other Senate partners, and grassroots groups to get this over the finish line.”
“One-third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the modern era can be directly linked to only twenty fossil fuel companies. From devastating flooding caused by storms like Hurricane Ida to increasingly extreme wildfires and heatwaves, the American people have been left to suffer the consequences of fossil fuel companies fanning the flames of the climate crisis,” said Rep. Nadler. “On behalf of our children and grandchildren, it’s time to put the health and well-being of our families over the fossil fuel industry. By including the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act in the reconciliation bill, Congress can ensure that the costs of federal response to the climate crisis are no longer borne solely by the American people. It’s time for fossil fuel companies–which have never been forced to account for the damaging costs of their greenhouse gas emissions–to pay their fair share and help our nation tackle this crisis head on."
“For years, fossil fuel companies have made trillions in profits while spewing carbon pollution that wreaks havoc on our environment and harms the public health,” said Sen. Van Hollen. “As we saw just this week with the impact of Hurricane Ida, every American is paying the price for climate change – from rising health costs to increasingly expensive climate mitigation efforts for everything from flooding to droughts to sea-level rise. Our idea is simple: those who pollute should pay to help clean up the mess they caused – and those who polluted the most should pay the most. I appreciate the leadership of Rep. Bowman on this issue in the House as well as the support of over 40 of our House colleagues to include this provision in the budget reconciliation process. I’ll be pushing my Senate colleagues to adopt this common-sense plan to help tackle the costs of climate change.”
Signing on to the letter are Reps. Jamaal Bowman. Ed.D, Nannette Barragán (D-CA), Karen Bass (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Cori Bush (D-MO), Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jared Huffman (D-CA), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Hank Johnson (D-GA), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Ro Khanna (D-CA), John Larson (D-CT), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Andy Levin (D-MI), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Marie Newman (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ritchie Torres (D-NY), Peter Welch (D-VT), Dina Titus (D-NV), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ).
The letter also includes the endorsement of a broad coalition of over 90 organizations, including 350.org, Sunrise Movement, League of Conservation Voters, Union of Concerned Scientists, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Greenpeace, New York Communities for Change, People's Action, Center for Popular Democracy, Working Families Party, Hip Hop Caucus, Center for Climate Integrity, New York Youth Climate Leaders, NYPIRG, Zero Hour, Green New Deal Network, Evergreen Action, Mighty Earth and more.
Click here to read the full text of the letter.