Ann Arbor City Council Unanimously Supports Carbon Fee Dividend Legislation

Ann Arbor City Council Unanimously Supports Carbon Fee Dividend Legislation

Tom Stedman

During their meeting on August 21st, 2017 the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting carbon fee and dividend (CFD) legislation. The passing of this resolution represents positive momentum for Citizen’s Climate Lobby whose primary goal is to pass CFD legislation on a federal level. It is also representative of the political power that organized and active citizens hold in a democracy. This is more than just a symbolic victory as the city will take action to advocate for CFD legislation. The resolution will be sent to Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters to propose CFD as a viable piece of legislation to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Council Members Chip Smith (D-Ward 5) and Jason Frenzel (D-Ward 1) sponsored the bill and both offered comments expressing their support for this resolution. Frenzel clarified that the resolution is nonbinding and serves primarily as a catalyst to encourage action on both the state and federal levels. He further commented that the resolution was “well liked in business” due to its clear language and lack of ambiguity regarding the fees. Ann Arbor joins a list of around 50 other U.S. cities such as Philadelphia, Portland, and San Francisco in supporting CFD policy. Councilwoman Kailasapathy (D-Ward 1) agreed with the resolution but had a concern over the lack of “action items”. As a result, Councilman Eaton (D-Ward 4) proposed language that included the suggestion from Kailasapathy for sending the resolution to Dingell, Stabenow and Peters, plus language directing the city to come up with a plan for how to advocate for CFD and work to get the plan enacted. This amended version of the resolution was the one passed by City Council.

Although the primary goal remains federal enactment of CFD legislation, the passing of this resolution is a testament to the hard work of CCL and community members to offer pragmatic, bipartisan solutions for monetizing environmental damage caused by fossil fuel consumption.