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Instead of praising toothless rules, push for carbon tax

RE “NEW EPA rules provide spur to cleaner-coal technology”: Your Oct. 6 editorial asserts that the Obama administration “delivered convincingly” on its promise to end the dumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by requiring new coal- and natural-gas-fired power plants to emit no more than 1,000 pounds of CO2 per megawatt hour. But this rule is irrelevant to new gas-fired power plants already below the Environmental Protection Agency’s limit, and no new coal-fired power plants are being planned. How is a rule without practical applications convincing?

Apparently it sets EPA up to issue rules for existing power plants that will be “complex, flexible . . . rules that account for state and regional energy differences.” But they’ll be stymied by litigation.

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Instead of praising irrelevant rules, you should urge Congress to embrace market-based policies to reduce emissions across all economic sectors, not just utilities.

The simplest market-based approach is a gradually increasing carbon tax. To protect consumers from inevitable energy price inflation, all revenue raised would be returned to households.

Moreover, rising fossil fuel prices promote private investment in conservation, efficiency, and clean energy, and private investors are the best selectors of new technologies worth backing.

Gary Rucinski

Newton

The writer is Northeast regional coordinator with the Citizens Climate Lobby.

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