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Tax carbon

Published January 29, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tuesday's oil rig fire near Duchesne illustrates still another reason to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

The pollution generated by our use of carbon-based fuels in vehicles, industry and homes includes pollutants that create climate change and affect our health. But we don't often think about the additional pollution produced while obtaining those fuels, from mining to refining and transport, let alone the additional dirtying of the air by accidents such as the burning of the Duchesne area oil rig.

Producers are not required to pay for the health costs of using fossil fuels. A fee on carbon, imposed at the mine, wellhead or border, would make up for that unseen expense, creating a more level playing field among various power sources and thereby encouraging the production of more sun, wind and geothermal energy.

The IRS could then distribute the resulting revenue among American households to offset the price increases created by the fee. It's time to put this long-championed idea into action and reduce the carbon pollution in our state and nation.

Judy Lord

Salt Lake City