The Environmental Justice Task Force was created early last year because of the interest
expressed by Faith Action organizations in environmental issues, in particular, climate
change. We are committed to increasing public awareness of environmental issues and
establishing more effective public policy to help control climate change.
After organizing, we considered various ideas for legislation. We settled on the carbon fee and dividend idea because it would substantially reduce carbon emissions, while also being consistent with Faith Action’s spirit of socioeconomic equity. This legislation would assess a fee on fossil fuels and distribute the revenue from the fee to people in equal shares. It’s not a new concept, as dozens of countries already have some form of it. We called our idea “Carbon Cashback.”
The task force started meeting with State legislators two months before the legislative
session began, and we had Rep. Jackson Sayama introduce our Carbon Cashback legislation as HB 134 in the House, and Senator Karl Rhoads introduce it as SB 311 in the Senate.
As it turned out, neither Carbon Cashback bill was heard, but a similar bill, HB 1319 was
heard. The task force testified in favor of the bill, and suggested amendments that would have made it much like Carbon Cashback. HB 1319 was passed by the first committee, but we were disappointed that it did not survive the next committee.
The task force had hoped that Carbon Cashback would pass in the 2021 legislative session. However, realistically, we knew that it is very rare for a bill to pass during the first session. It usually takes several years -- if a bill is passed at all.
The task force now knows where some of the hurdles are in the legislature, so we are
adjusting our strategy to overcome them. We are also collaborating with other
environmental organizations and intend to build more public support.
As an example of public education, the task force sponsored an online screening and
discussion of “The Story of Plastic,” which exposes the ugly truth behind plastic pollution
and the false solution of plastic recycling.
We invite all who are interested in improving the environment and doing more to control climate change to attend our Zoom meetings on Wednesdays at 5:00. The Zoom link is on the Faith Action calendar on the website.