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NACo Environment, Energy & Land Use Committee Report - 2012 Annual Conference


Posted Date: 
July 20, 2012
Contact: 
John Prinkki, Carbon County Commissioner

NACo Annual Meeting July 13& 14, 2012

The Environment, Energy and Land Use Committee met first on July 13th at 10:00 AM to allow each of the proposed resolutions to be addressed by the sponsors. There was little discussion about most resolutions. Several of the resolutions were withdrawn as they were accepted into policy. Two of the issues did not affect Montana directly and were related to maritime issues. The Resolution on Conservation Easements Tax Incentives was also rolled into policy. The policy is to maintain the federal income tax incentive now in place for landowners wishing to place their land into a conservation easement.

Two resolutions were discussed extensively. The Resolution on Opposing Implementation of United Nations Agenda 21 was critically reviewed. The majority of EELU Committee members did not agree that the UN had any influence on NACo policies and therefore did not see a connection between UN policy and NACo policy.

The Resolution on Carbon Cap and Trade and a Carbon Tax also received a lot of questioning and criticism. This resolution was sponsored by Robert Cope, Lemhi Co. Idaho, Alan Gardner and Denny Drake, Washington Co., Utah, John Prinkki, Carbon Co. Mt., Mike Murray, Lewis and Clark Co., Mt.

Opponents to the resolution expressed concern over where funding for carbon sequestration would come from and that this would be a good source of funding for capturing greenhouse gases. Some EELU committee members also saw other ways to use Carbon Tax funds, as did other committees such as the Transportation Committee which is looking for replacement funding for the reduced amount of fuel taxes collected. It was clear that the concept of a carbon tax was not solely for the stated purpose of addressing the effect of GHG emissions. The implementation of a Carbon Tax would be the largest new source of revenue for the federal government since the income tax.

The total annual emissions of CO2 in the United States was 6822 MM ton in 2009.   http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/usinventoryreport.html.

Advocates for a carbon tax have suggested an initial rate of $15 per ton, increasing by $10 per ton each year for the first five years. After five years, that increase would go to $15 per ton if US emissions stray from an EPA-certified glide path to cut emissions by 80% from 2005 levels in 2050.
http://www.carbontax.org/blogarchives/2009/03/06/new-larson-bill-raises-the-bar-for-congressional-climate-action/.   

At the current rate of CO2 emissions the revenue initially derived by the carbon tax and placed into the US Treasury would be $102.3B. The second year revenue would be $170B, and $238B, $307B, and $375B for the next three successive years.

The US Budget for Fiscal Year 2012 was enacted to set revenue at $2.469 trillion, with expenditures set at $3.796 trillion. Revenue from both individual and corporate income tax was about $1.4 trillion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_United_States_federal_budget.

The implementation of a carbon tax would increase 2012 revenues by 4% the first year and by 15% when the rate of tax was increased to $55 per ton. Compared to revenue from income tax alone, a carbon tax would add 26% additional revenue.

A carbon tax would hit local governments very hard. As you can see from the table below, the financial impact to county governments and the private sector would be tremendous and would be very detrimental to the economy.

County

CO2 emissions in tons

$20 per ton tax

$50 per ton tax

Dade County, Florida (includes private sector)   

32 M ton

$640,000,000

$1,600,000,000

Denver County, Colorado ( Includes private sector)

14.6 M ton

$292,000,000

$730,000,000

Sonoma Co., California. (county only)

3.6 M ton

$72,000,000

$180,000,000

Carbon County, Montana (county only)

4312 ton

$86,240

$215,600

Yellowstone Co., Mt. (county only)

191,931

$3,838,620

$9,595,000

Policy changes and Resolutions would be voted on the next day, July 14th from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

POLICY:

Storm water Logging rules, Supported unanimously

Sonar use/ocean acidification, passed with one no

Support renewables federal support, passed with minor opposition, concern federal regulations.

Resource conservation passed 4 oppose

I. Multi emission new source review, passed unanimously

J. Greenhouse Gases, Proposed amendments were tabled

V. LAND USE, was tabled until proponent was prepared.  This was the last item discussed.  The vote was 5 for 35 against, with some abstentions. This issue had been brought up by the same proponents of opposing the United Nations Agenda 21

RESOLUTIONS:

  1. Resolution on Good Samaritan Environmental laws, passed unanimously 
  2. Resolution on Federal storm water regulations, passed unanimously
  3. Resolution on Pesticide use, passed unanimously
  4. Resolution on Responsible Military Maritime sonar practices, is now in policy
  5. Ocean acidification, is now in policy
  6. Resolution on the Reduction and cleanup of marine debris, passed unanimously
  7. Resolution Supporting Ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the sea, passed with unanimously
  8. Resolution on Exempting Biomass Emissions from the EPA’s Tailoring Rules; passed unanimously
  9. Resolution on EPA’s Boiler MACT Rule, passed unanimously
  10. Resolution on Carbon Cap and Trade and Carbon Tax. Was passed 26 to 22 after a vote to amend. Was not segregated on the floor as feared and had happened in 2010.
  11. Resolution on Property Assessed Clean energy Programs (Pace), passed unanimously
  12. Resolution in Support of Keystone XL Pipeline, passed with one no vote
  13. Resolution Opposing Delay in Issuance of Oil& Gas
  14. Drilling permits, unanimously passed
  15. Resolution on Changes to the Oil Pollution Act ; passed unanimously 
  16. Resolution in Support of the RESTORE Act, passed unanimously
  17. Resolution on the Readiness and Environmental Protection Initiative (REPI), passed unanimously
  18. Resolution on Conservation Easements Tax Incentive, now in policy
  19. Resolution on Opposing Implementation of United Nations Agenda 21. There was an unusual discussion with much debate and proposed amendments. The final vote was, 14 in favor with 32 opposing.

Anyone who is interested in reviewing any of the resolutions or the EELU Platform and position papers can read them or download them from the NACo website at:

http://www.naco.org/legislation/policies/Pages/EELU.aspx.

There are position papers on the Waters of The US and proposed EPA regulations of pesticides, dust, and other issues of concerns to Montanans. I would be glad to respond to any questions.

John Prinkki | commissioners@co.carbon.mt.us | (406) 446-1231