Letter: Will Rocky Mountain Power voluntarily pay the social cost of burning coal?

Let’s require Rocky Mountain Power to pay for a small part of their harm.

Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune The coal-fired Huntington Power Plant west of Huntington.

Given the global effects of burning coal, the cost is estimated to be $376.99 to $1,900.73 per ton (Yale). Corporations are transfixed on their bottom line. We can shift their decision to use coal using free market forces and attach a per ton “pollution fee” (paid by Rocky Mountain Power), using passage of the Energy Innovation Act in Congress.

Putting a gradually rising “pollution fee” on carbon at the mine would raise the cost of energy, passed through to each American. To correct for these costs, the Act returns all pollution fees to Americans with monthly checks, amounting to hundreds of dollars per year.

Studies (REMI, Resources for the Future) show putting money back in American pockets would counter higher energy costs and create innovation along with millions of jobs. We would hit our Paris Accord goals (along with the Inflation Reduction Act) while eliminating consumer pushback by protecting the poor and the middle class with the rebate.

The Natural Resouces Defense Council estimates the health penalties from fossil fuel pollution and exponential increases in $1 billion-plus climate change disasters exceed $800 billion per year! Let’s require Rocky Mountain Power to pay for a small part of their harm. My bet is that they will switch to clean energy and avoid the fees.

Jan Freed, Los Angeles, California

Submit a letter to the editor