Carbon pricing cosponsors are a diverse bunch

Judy Chu diverse carbon pricing

Rep. Judy Chu chairs the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and is an original cosponsor of the Energy Innovation Act.

Carbon pricing cosponsors are a diverse bunch

By Flannery Winchester

The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2021 (H.R. 2307) was introduced into the House of Representatives earlier this month. There was initial fanfare from national and local media about the policy. In addition to the policy being great, we think the cosponsor list is worth fanfare on its own — in particular, the fact that it’s a diverse list of representatives! 

The Energy Innovation Act currently has 40 cosponsors. Of those, 8 are on the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and 6 are on the Congressional Black Caucus. Thirteen are on the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and 34 are on the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus — both of these caucuses welcome allies alongside representatives who identify as part of that community.

“I think it is wonderful to see the diversity of the members who are supporting the Energy Innovation Act,” says Karina Ramirez, CCL’s Diversity and Inclusion Director. “This shows that the members of these diverse caucuses are concerned about the impact of climate change on communities of color and LGBTQ people, and they want to work toward a solution that will benefit as many communities as possible.”

Cosponsors from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

From the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is cosponsored by Reps. Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cárdenas (CA-29), Luis Correa (CA-46), Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), Linda Sánchez (CA-38), Albio Sires (NJ-08), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), and Mike Levin (CA-49), pictured below from left to right.

Hispanic Caucus diverse carbon pricing

Back in 2014, Rep. Sánchez testified to the EPA that “31% of Latinos live within 30 miles of a power plant. Equally alarming is the fact that Latinos are also 165% more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of particulate matter pollution.” 

She explained, “The consequences of these environmental conditions are evident in the high rates of asthma among Latino community. Over 3.6 million Latinos in the U.S. suffer from asthma, including one in ten Latino children. As a mother, these numbers are unacceptable and they underscore the need for a commonsense plan to reduce carbon pollution.” 

Rep. Roybal-Allard, whose father helped create the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, has also been working on these issues for years and meeting with members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby along the way:

Rep. Levin, whose mother is Mexican-American, co-chaired the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Environmental Task Force during the last Congress. “All too often, Hispanic communities and socioeconomically disadvantaged regions suffer the worst impacts of environmental disasters and climate change,” Rep. Levin said. “It is long past time that we place a renewed focus on environmental justice, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus can play a leading role in that effort.”

As recently as last fall, Rep. Carbajal took to social media to highlight the disproportionate impact climate change has had on the Latino community. “This Hispanic Heritage Month, I want to reaffirm my commitment to climate action,” he said in this Facebook video

We appreciate these members’ years of leadership on this issue and their cosponsorship of the Energy Innovation Act, which will reduce carbon pollution 30% in the first 5 years alone.

Cosponsors from the Congressional Black Caucus

From the Congressional Black Caucus, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is cosponsored by Reps. Dwight Evans (PA-03), Hank Johnson (GA-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Joyce Beatty (OH-03), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-00), and Robin Kelly (IL-02).

Black Caucus carbon pricing

Rep. Beatty, who serves as the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in the current Congress, was also recently named an Environmental Champion by the League of Conservation Voters. 

Rep. Norton, who sat on the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on the Environment during the last Congress, says, “Combating climate change has long been one of my top priorities in Congress.” 

Rep. Lee is also an outspoken and committed leader on these issues. “We must demand environmental justice,” her website says, noting that she “has long opposed taxpayer-funded giveaways to Big Oil and other major polluters.” 

Her support for a carbon price, which would be paid by fossil fuel companies, goes back years. At a 2016 hearing to develop the Democratic party platform, Rep. Lee said, “Taxing carbon really is the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions, while providing the needed resources which we need to address the costs of unchecked carbon. Carbon taxes will offset the massive societal costs of unchecked carbon emissions, and I think we should support it. “

Cosponsors from the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus

Thirteen Energy Innovation Act cosponsors are members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and two are in leadership roles: Reps. Judy Chu (CA-27) chairs the caucus, and Grace Meng (NY-06) serves as First Vice-Chair.

Asian Pacific American Caucus diverse carbon pricing

Rep. Chu spoke at a press conference when the Energy Innovation Act was reintroduced, saying, “I’ve been proud to be a cosponsor and advocate for this crucial legislation since Rep. Deutch first introduced it in 2018. This is a progressive solution that ensures workers and families come out ahead while making our economy cleaner.” (Jump to 7:35 to hear her full remarks.)

Cosponsors from the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus

Thirty-four Energy Innovation Act cosponsors are members of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus. One cosponsor, Angie Craig, is herself a member of the LGBTQ community and a co-chair of the caucus. Here’s a picture of Angie Craig (left) with her wife. The couple have raised four children together.

Angie Craig LGBTQ carbon pricing

Rep. Craig earned a strong endorsement from her hometown editorial board, the Minnesota Star-Tribune, during the last election cycle. The paper noted, “Craig proposes meeting the existential threat of climate change with an economic response: the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, which she has co-sponsored.” They also praised her efforts to work across the aisle to get things done in Congress.

Who’s next?

We’re thrilled that this diverse group of representatives has cosponsored the Energy Innovation Act. Our volunteers are working hard to build more support for carbon pricing legislation and bring even more members of Congress on board. With a diversity of perspectives at the table, the resulting legislation is stronger and more durable, which is exactly what we need to tackle climate change.

Flannery Winchester has put her words to work for magazines, for marketing agencies, and now for our earth as CCL's Communications Director. She is grateful to spend every day working to preserve this beautiful planet.