Senate Democrats want to tax high polluting energy companies for climate change consequences

It is estimated companies including Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron would be taxed $5 billion to $6 billion annually, according to a document shared with The Hill.

Updated: August 5, 2021 - 2:01pm

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Senate Democrats are planning to release legislation that would tax the energy companies responsible for the high greenhouse gas emissions to pay for the costs associated with climate change.

Under the Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act, sponsored by Maryland Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollan, roughly 25 to 30 U.S energy companies would pay a collective $300 billion over the next 10 years, as reported by The Hill newspaper.

"What we’re proposing today is a simple but powerful idea," Van Hollen said Wednesday. "It’s the idea that polluters should pay for the messes they cause … and those that pollute the most should pay the most."

The energy industry is opposing the legislation, saying it unfairly targets a specific sector of the economy.  

"Targeting a handpicked group of companies with punitive new taxes would undermine the guiding principle of neutrality embedded in our nation’s tax code and would only serve to undermine the nation’s economic recovery," said Frank Macchiarola, American Petroleum Institute senior vice president of policy, economics and regulatory affairs, the Hill also reports.

The legislation would be requiring these companies to pay if they were responsible for at least .05% of the worldwide carbon dioxide and methane emissions from 2000 to 2019, according to The Hill. 

The exact uses of the money from the fund are still unclear but could include helping create more climate-resilient buildings especially in disadvantaged or minority communities.