City urges Congress to levy fee on fossil fuels

The City of Moab has approved a resolution urging Congress to levy a revenue-neutral fee on the carbon in fossil fuels at the point of production to encourage individuals and corporations to produce and use fewer fossil fuels. The resolution has been approved by nearly 100 municipalities nationwide, including Salt Lake City and Park City, according to Moab City Sustainability Director Rosemarie Russo. California also passed the resolution last week, she said.

The resolution proposes a $15 fee on every metric ton of greenhouse gas equivalent. It is supported by numerous Fortune 500 businesses, Russo said.

“It’s not an anti-business proposal … Exxon is behind this and Unilegal, Disney … rather than having piecemeal carbon legislation, a lot of big businesses want to have a level playing field. This also has provisions for exports so we’re not unfairly burdening our own companies,” Russo said.

At the July 10 meeting of the Moab City Council, the city also opted into a program known as C-PACE, or the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy program. The program is a mechanism to finance projects on renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation among others.

“What the developers were saying that I talked to in our town is that they would like to do some of these projects, like solar or hybrid vehicles … the barrier a lot of times is up-front cost,” Russo said. “The advantage over traditional loans is that the person has up to 30 years to pay it back … I’ve talked to our developers and they’re very excited about it. The county is excited about it as well.”

The city council voted four to zero to pass the resolution and opt into the clean energy financing program. Council Member Karen Guzman-Newton was not present for the vote.

ByBy Rose Egelhoff

The Times-Independent