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A group of Senate Democrats has proposed a fund of $500 billion, to be filled by Big Oil polluters over 10 years, “to require the biggest polluters to begin paying their fair share for a just clean energy transition,” according to a press release by one of the group, Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen.
“Our idea is simple: those who pollute should pay to help clean up the mess they caused – and those who polluted the most should pay the most. This bill will ensure the costs of climate change are no longer borne solely by the American people – and instead require big corporate polluters to pay part of the clean-up bill,” Van Hollen said.
Others from the group, which includes Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, and Jeff Merkley, commented that the Big Oil industry has been essentially profiting from polluting the country for decades, and that it was now time for it to start paying for this.
Senator Van Hollen also said that only the biggest polluters in the oil industry would be targeted, after the Treasury Department and the Environmental Protection Agency identify them. Specific company names were not listed, but Van Hollen said there would be about 25 to 30 companies that would be required to contribute to the fund.
He also mentioned “companies like ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, and Chevron” as the biggest polluters, saying they would have to shell out some $5-6 billion annually for the fund.
“Responsibility to pay would be based on a strict liability standard – there is no requirement to prove negligence or intentional wrongdoing. The proposal does not assign blame for specific damages – it simply ensures that these companies contribute to the solution,” Van Hollen’s press release explained.
The sponsors of the Polluters Pay Climate Fund bill are hoping to have it voted on later this year as part of broader climate change-related legislation.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com