Weinberger proposes statewide carbon pollution fee

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and environmental groups have proposed a statewide carbon pollution fee.

The proposal is based on the City's Net Zero Energy Roadmap, which was released last month. A new study by Synapse Energy Economics released Friday shows that putting a new fee on heating and transportation fuels would lower emissions more than 20-percent by 2040, and that it would have a positive effect on the state's economy and jobs.

Mayor Weinberger says that this fee differs from the typical carbon tax in that the revenues wouldn't go to the state. Instead, the money would be distributed back to people and businesses as rebates. "The idea is to put a fee on the cost of oil and gas companies doing business in Vermont but not to raise government revenues from Vermonters who are already very heavily taxed," he said.

The mayor's office says the mechanics and timeline of the rebate would have to be worked out, but rebates would come to residents on a per-capita basis and to businesses based on how many employees they have.

The city will also begin using an internal carbon price to evaluate major city purchasing decisions.