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E. Donald Elliott, EPA’s Existing Authority to Impose a Carbon “Tax”, 49 ELR 10919 (October 2019),


A number of bills have been introduced in recent years to put a price on carbon tax. These proposals generally proceed from the implicit assumption that the federal government in general, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in particular, does not already have such authority. That is incorrect. Under a federal statute that has been on the books since 1952, EPA could impose a carbon “tax” any time an administration in power is willing to do so. That is because a charge for using the public’s air to dispose of carbon dioxide and other wastes is technically not a tax, but rather a “user fee.

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