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Rick Whitbeck: Here’s another horrible tax conceived in the swamp


Despite yearslong pushback from small businesses, manufacturers, and consumers, Congress is once again considering “carbon border adjustment tax” legislation which will unfairly impact the oil and gas industry right here in Alaska.

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Record high inflation, a looming debt crisis, and the potential for an economic recession don’t seem to be enough to dissuade eco-centric Congressional members and environmental extremists from attempting to push through this destructive legislation. Even more unfortunate is that several Republicans are helping to draft this legislation and pledging support. 

This legislation has many problems, with the very nexus hinging on the false argument that carbon is a pollutant that must be reduced through whatever means necessary. Regardless of the impetus for considering the legislation, the mechanics of the bill are just plain awful.

It would impose a tax, or tariff, on imported goods including aluminum, paper, steel, petroleum, among others, based on the carbon content of the product. Supportive members in Congress and activist organizations allege this tax would discourage pollution from other countries who do not currently meet U.S. standards, or they would face a penalty.

However, the real result of this tax would strain America’s businesses and increase costs for consumers while providing no benefit to the environment.

David Weisbach, an expert in carbon border tariffs, has said these taxes would “unquestionably” raise prices for U.S. consumers earning less than $400,000 a year.

Despite interest expressed by some Senate Republicans in recent years, proposals pushed by climate activists have thus far been roundly defeated. The ramifications of such a tax would be detrimental for Alaska families and businesses across our state. The cost of producing several important goods would skyrocket while the price of importing goods would simultaneously increase.

Who wins in this scenario? If passed, a carbon border tax would push businesses to pass these rising costs directly on to consumers. All Americans would pay this misguided tax. 

In Alaska, we would see a direct hit on the oil and gas, refining, and mining operations as these industries would lose the ability to invest in new projects as well as maintain current operations without passing on higher costs to customers and consumers.

Crazy ESG policies have put a target on the back of Alaska’s oil and gas industry and already make it incredibly difficult to attract capital to invest in new energy projects here. An additional tax would only add to creating a hostile business environment. The road back to energy independence does not include a carbon border adjustment tax.  

Alaska families are already struggling to keep up with the high cost of groceries and everyday goods and are staring down rising gas prices ahead of the summer travel season. This legislation stands in direct contradiction to the fiscally responsible policies needed at a time when Republicans are the only party willing to make spending cuts and tax less. 

Thoughtful discussions are hopefully underway to tackle the nation’s fiscal situation. Entertaining consideration of a carbon border tax at a time of economic uncertainty should not be on the table for Congress.

Rick Whitbeck is the Alaska State Director for Power The Future, a national nonprofit organization that advocates for American energy jobs and opportunities. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @PTFAlaska.



  1. Are electric vehicles going to be taxed? They are not carbon friendly in the materials content or disposal. Either way, saving the environment is not the goal here. The goal is to bring down the US.

  2. Excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is an existential threat to all of us. This is an established fact. Facts don’t care how you feel about them. Impending disasters don’t care if you’re ready to mitigate them or not. A carbon tax is a good idea because it puts back pressure on carbon intensive industries and forces them to push for and use cheaper, safer and more sustainable energy sources. When you pollute you are responsible for cleaning up. If you care about people and our collective future then you have to acknowledge the extraordinary danger of putting your head in the sand and continuing down the fossil fuel road. Our money and efforts need to shift to inexpensive renewables and modern nuclear power and upgrading our grid to better manage the flow of power.

    • An “existential threat”? How? Because somebody with an agenda said so, I guess… We have been messed over as a society with many, many lies, but this carbon thing takes the cake. I wish everyone who has been convinced by this propaganda would study it out much further. There is another side to this whole idea and a lot of scientists agree. Sometimes I worry about the reasoning power of a lot of people and how easily they have been “trained” to believe certain things without finding out WHY.

    • Scott, if you think about it , isnt Carbon Dioxide the currency of life? All plants need it, right? Also given the complexity of the atmosphere along with lots of variables such as reflectivity , ( clouds and snow cover, natural disasters like Volcano activity and Godzilla’s return) it seems a bit foolish to trust a computer model that only measures CO2. Especially so since as we learned though climate gate that your fear mongering scientist pallys were “cooking” the data.

      I note that Obama his badself owns a couple of beach front houses powered by carbon fuels. I’m guessing that he isn’t too concerned about sea levels rising!

      Get a grip , breathe deeply and feel free to exhale that CO2! I’m pulling for you pard, we’re all in this together!

    • Scott -” carbon is existential threat”? When dinosaurs roamed this Earth the atmosphere contains almost 5 times more carbon than the paltry 400 parts per million it contains today. Carbon makes our world greener! You are an indication that our education system is sorely lacking in teaching critical thinking skills.

  3. Once you can classify useful oil & gas as a sin commodity, like tobacco, anything goes. Any taxes imposed to reduce consumption are morally justified regardless of the impact on your ability to keep heat in your home during the winter & keep your head above water financially. In fact, just trying to do those things makes you complicit in the alleged sin.

    Any activities/programs which support or confirm this concept that fossil fuels and/or carbon dioxide are inherently a public menace and require mitigation just drives the steak further into the heart of US energy independence & economic freedom.

    • The best thing we can do for energy independence is make our own and break our dependence on other nations. I don’t want to be dependent on Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Venezuela.

  4. Well the minimum wage needs to be raised to 50 dollars per hour so we can all afford to live with the government taking more than their fare share.

  5. Where is the revenue/balanced budget promised with the 2027 tax cuts? Republicans have short memories and are actually asking for more military deficit spending, Government needs to resurrect Simpson Bowles

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