November 3, 2023

Cassidy Leads Introduction of Foreign Pollution Fee to Hold China Accountable

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee and the Finance Committee, and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) led the introduction of the Foreign Pollution Fee. The Foreign Pollution Fee is an American plan to address the nexus between energy, economic development, supply chains, national security, and the environment at the expense of China and Russia. The Foreign Pollution Fee utilizes the U.S. advantage in manufacturing and energy production with less greenhouse gas emissions than our adversaries. In doing so, it expands American production and increases domestic jobs while discouraging the import of more pollution-intensive, foreign-produced goods. The Foreign Pollution Fee also encourages trade between like-minded partners, which ensures growth opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and secures global supply chains while isolating China.

“It makes absolutely no sense that we allow China to pollute freely and export their products to the U.S.—displacing U.S jobs, manufacturing, and excellence,” said Dr. Cassidy. “The Foreign Pollution Fee begins to hold China accountable for their lack of environmental standards while expanding domestic production, increasing opportunities for the American family, and decreasing global emissions.”

“It is long past time that the polluters of the world, like China and others, pay a price for their environmental policies.  This bill calls out the foreign polluters and rewards American businesses who are doing the right thing,” said Senator Graham. “We are leveling the playing field, and American manufacturers and business will be the biggest beneficiaries.” 

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and other foreign governments have ignored international norms and agreements regarding environmental protection and pollute the world without consequence. Instead of rewarding the U.S. for its stellar environmental record, the existing trade system not only allows the CCP to exploit loopholes but heavily compensates them for their poor pollution record. This combination undercuts U.S. manufacturing domestically and abroad causing the loss of millions of U.S. jobs and dependency on problematic supply chains. In the last 20 years, the U.S. has lost roughly five million jobs, and half of those losses are a result of our trade deficit with China. Meanwhile, the U.S. has eliminated more emissions than any other country and our economy is 44% more carbon efficient than the world average.

The Foreign Pollution Fee: 

  • Ensures the pollution intensity of products imported into the U.S. is no dirtier than similar domestically produced goods.
  • Promotes the expansion of U.S. energy production and manufacturing of all kinds.
  • Expands trade with international partners providing growth opportunities for U.S. manufacturers and securing supply chains.
  • Penalizes foreign countries, namely China, who willfully ignore environmental standards and international norms to undercut manufacturing.

For example, products made in China, on average, generate three times the emissions of the same products made in the U.S. Goods produced in Russia emit four times the emissions. Specifically, the emissions intensity of Chinese-mined minerals is 100% higher than U.S. minerals. For Russia, their natural gas is 60% more emission intense and their oil is at least 33% more intense than U.S. natural gas and oil respectively.

The introduction of this legislation comes on the heels of a unanimously adopted resolution in the Louisiana House and Senate that supports trade policy targeting foreign polluters while benefitting American workers.

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Cassidy penned editorials in Foreign Affairs and 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. He also joined Greta Van Susteren on Newsmax to discuss his foreign pollution fee, noting the competitive advantage China receives from intentionally ignoring environmental standards. 

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 and manufacturing. In support of this complete vision and in addition to the Foreign Pollution Fee, Cassidy led Republican colleagues in opposition to a domestic carbon tax, and introduced the first comprehensive judicial reform for permitting bill. He also pushed back on disastrous proposals from the Biden administration to limit development in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) with the introduction of the WHALE Act and the Offshore Energy Security Act of 2023.

Since the publication of the Energy Operation Warp Speed outline, Cassidy cosponsored two comprehensive permitting and environmental review reform proposals fitting the Warp Speed vision: the Simplify Timelines and Assure Regulatory Transparency (START) Act and the Spur Permitting of Underdeveloped Resources (SPUR) Act. These bills substantively reform the nation’s broken permitting and environmental review processes that delay key energy, infrastructure, and transportation projects across America