WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) highlighted his “Foreign Pollution Fee” at a Senate Finance Committee hearing. A foreign pollution fee is a fee on foreign imports, like Chinese steel and chemicals, produced with lower environmental standards than cleaner American production. It would curtail China‘s ability to undercut U.S. manufacturers by penalizing China for not meeting the same reasonable environmental standards to which domestic manufacturers are held. Importantly, it would level the playing field for American workers, making it less likely that jobs migrate to China.
Cassidy explained that although the government is investing to lower the pollution intensity of domestic manufacturing, they are actually continuing to perpetuate carbon leakage to China and dirtier producers.
“If all we do is set up carbon leakage going China, energy-intensive enterprises migrate from here to there because they don’t enforce environmental regulations, we have on net more global air pollution. We also lose our manufacturing base and the jobs that go along with it. We all want to keep those jobs. So I’m begging the answer. But is there a global climate benefit to replacing the more carbon-intense Chinese products with a lower carbon intensive product made here in the United States?” asked Dr. Cassidy.
“Certainly, that is the case. It is carbon intensity. It is the intensity of like criteria air pollutants—NOx, SOx, those sorts of pollutants. Everything here is done cleaner, it’s done more efficiently than it is in China,” responded the Honorable Daniel Simmons, Principal at Simmons Energy and Environmental Strategies.
Cassidy went on to note the impact of China’s lack of environmental standards on the air quality of the U.S. and the nexus of economy, energy, national security, and climate.
“I know that 20% of the SOx and NOx on our West Coast is blown over by trade winds from China’s coal-fired plants on their most western coast. Knowing that the strength of [China’s] economy is also fueling their military rise, and their foreign policy adventures such as Belt and Road and String of Pearls, would replacing the economic advantage of products migrating their be an advantage to the United States,” said Dr. Cassidy.
Yesterday before the House China Select Committee, former U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer expressed his endorsement of a carbon border adjustment mechanism.
“I would want to see people come together and have some kind of a carbon border adjustment. Not a carbon tax. I’m not for that, but a carbon border adjustment,” said Ambassador Lighthizer. “There’s things in trade law enforcement… and a lot of things you can do with allies.”
Cassidy also discussed issues with the Biden administration’s hydrogen credit which favors green hydrogen over blue hydrogen due to their lack of consideration of factors such as cost.
Last year, Cassidy released a landmark energy & climate policy outline in response to the Biden administration’s assault on domestic energy. The outline details how we can successfully reset U.S. energy policy, including Cassidy’s plan for an Energy Operation Warp Speed to cut permitting red tape and unleash domestic energy.
He also penned an op-ed in the Washington Times discussing the geopolitical threats China poses to U.S. global standing. Cassidy stressed the need for a U.S. foreign policy towards China that meets at the nexus of national security, energy security, economic policy, and climate policy.
Cassidy joined Greta Van Susteren on Newsmax to discuss his foreign pollution fee, noting the competitive advantage China receives from intentionally ignoring environmental standards.