November 14, 2023

What They Are Saying: Support Grows for the Foreign Pollution Fee

WASHINGTON – Since U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee and the Finance Committee, introduced the Foreign Pollution Fee, support for the bill has grown. 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.”

Here’s what people are saying: 

  • Battery Materials and Technology Coalition Spokesperson Ben Steinberg: “The BMTC supports the efforts of Senator Cassidy (R-LA) to craft foreign pollution fee legislation. The domestic critical minerals sector is committed to growing onshore and building an industry with leading environmental and emissions standards. A foreign pollution fee would help to level an unfair playing field and reinforce America’s commitment to clean manufacturing by accounting for foreign manufacturers that operate with lower standards. We applaud Sen. Cassidy’s efforts and stand ready to help advance this policy concept.”
  • American Iron and Steel President & CEO Kevin Dempsey: “The most effective way to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is through policies that hold the most GHG-intensive producers in the world accountable. AISI thanks Senator Cassidy for his leadership in introducing legislation to establish a GHG border fee to accomplish that goal. The American steel industry is the cleanest of the leading steel industries in the world, with the lowest GHG emissions per ton of steel produced, and competes with imports of more GHG-intensive steel from every region of the world. Establishing a comprehensive GHG border fee that requires higher-emitting imports to pay for those emissions will help level the playing field and ensure U.S. producers investing in cleaner production processes are not undercut.”
  • BASF Vice President & Deputy General Counsel for Regulatory, Environmental & Government Affairs Catherine Trinkle: “BASF Corporation appreciates Sen. Cassidy’s leadership in developing policies to help address key carbon management challenges. As we work towards our net zero goal, we need climate protection policies that ensure reduction targets are economically feasible and technologically reasonable, allowing energy-intensive and trade-exposed companies to remain globally competitive. We also support Sen. Cassidy’s leadership in addressing challenges with permitting, Class VI well primacy, and parity for carbon utilization incentives, which we believe will drive meaningful carbon emissions reductions, especially in the chemical sector.” 
  • Portland Cement Association Senior Vice-President of Government Affairs Sean O’Neill: “The Portland Cement Association (PCA) is pleased that Senators Cassidy and Graham are working for solutions that protect domestic manufacturers from foreign competitors that have weaker emissions standards. Sustainability and environmental stewardship are top priorities for PCA members. Congress should collaborate on policies that incentivize innovation and decarbonization and discourage the import of higher polluting foreign products. We look forward to continuing to work with the Senators on addressing this key issue.”
  • Steel Manufacturers Association President Philip Bell: “Dr. Cassidy gets it. Solution focused proposals like this benefit the American steel industry. The United States makes the cleanest, lowest emissions steel products in the world. This policy would incentivize high emitting producers to take the necessary steps to reduce emissions and earn the right to sell products into our market. Making producers of dirty steel pay a surcharge is fairer to U.S. producers who are investing billions of dollars to electrify, modernize, and decarbonize our steel industry in a difficult regulatory environment. The SMA looks forward to working with Dr. Cassidy and likeminded legislators who understand that American steel has a carbon advantage that we can leverage with other countries to get them serious about reducing carbon emissions.”
  • Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) President Heather Reams: “The U.S. should hold China and other foreign adversaries accountable for their poor environmental practices that backpedal global efforts to reduce emissions. Effective trade and climate policy must boost American manufacturing, mining, and energy production that will strengthen global economic and energy security, while reducing worldwide emissions.”
  • Climate Leadership Council CEO Greg Bertelsen: “Senator Bill Cassidy’s introduction of the Foreign Pollution Fee Act is an encouraging step toward securing critical supply chains, solidifying international demand for cleaner U.S.-made goods, and lowering global emissions. Through establishing a foreign pollution fee on imported goods and encouraging international partnerships that align with the U.S.’s higher environmental performance, the FPF Act would introduce a global market signal to leverage America’s Carbon Advantage to the benefit of the U.S. economy, American workers, and the environment. The Council looks forward to working with Senator Cassidy and a growing number of members to further develop these trade policies as tools for lowering global emissions.”
  • Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, former U.S. Trade Representative: Make China Pay for Its Polluting Advantage …the Senate Republican bill that would impose tariffs on products imported into the U.S. primarily because they have an unfair price advantage as a result of polluting our environment. The editorial does what it accuses the FPFA’s sponsors of doing: ‘a misdirection worthy of Al Gore.’ First, it attacks the proposal because Democrats and labor unions might join Republicans in supporting it. By that logic, we should be against Social Security, healthcare for seniors and national defense. In a democracy, however, broad support is a plus. It is how bills pass. Second, the editorial argues that the ‘unstated purpose’ of the bill is to protect U.S. manufacturers from rising energy costs. Not at all. The purpose is to defend our manufacturers and workers from competition that is fundamentally unfair. Why should a woman in Ohio lose her job because China continues to build the world’s dirtiest coal-fired power plants and lets its steel mills spew excess carbon? This has nothing to do with energy prices. The editorial does get something right: ‘U.S. production of most goods on the tariff list doesn’t come close to meeting domestic demand.’ That is in part because importers get a cost advantage from polluting. They are putting us out of business. How does that make sense? A great country needs great manufacturing and that requires fair trade.”

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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.