Rep. Benson’s Carbon Pricing Bill Receives Substantial Support at Hearing

BOSTON – Legislators, activists, academics, clergy members, and others crowded into the Gardner Auditorium on Tuesday afternoon to offer support for Representative Benson’s carbon pricing legislation. H.1726, An Act to promote green infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs, would put a price on carbon emissions to incentive a move toward renewable energy sources.

Representative Benson provided testimony in support of carbon pricing along with a panel of House Members including Representatives Cory Atkins, Michael Connolly, Solomon Goldstein-Rose, Stephen Kulik, and Denise Provost.

“In 2007, Massachusetts became a leader in cap-and-trade by establishing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative,” said Representative Benson. “Carbon pricing is the next logical step in reducing carbon emissions, and without it, we will not meet our 2050 emissions requirements under the 2008 Global Warming Solutions Act.”

Representative Benson’s bill differs from other carbon pricing proposals in that it is revenue positive, rather than revenue neutral. In H.1726, 80% of the revenue from carbon fees is rebated to households and employers, while 20% of the revenue is placed in a Green Infrastructure Fund.

“Many of the green energy incentives we have in the Commonwealth have left out a portion of our citizenry,” said Representative Benson in her testimony. “With 20% of the revenue going toward a Green Infrastructure Fund, we will be able to use those resources to fund regional transportation projects in rural and suburban areas, or low-interest loans for small businesses to implement energy efficiency upgrades. Offering these opportunities is a powerful way to multiply the effects of a carbon pricing regime.”

Representative Benson’s bill has gathered 59 cosponsors from both the House and Senate.