Letter: Pollution deterrent

Published: Sunday, May 11 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Brian Myers (“Carbon illusion," May 5) brings up a worthwhile question about how putting a fee on pollution like carbon dioxide while at the same time returning the proceeds of that fee would lead to reduced pollution. I’m not an economist, but I can explain it based on analyses by the many economists beginning to support this equitable and apparently effective approach at limiting our looming common tragedy.

Putting a flat fee on pollution provides an economic disincentive to pollute. Mr. Myers’ incorrect assumption is that the fee will be returned based on the amount each polluter produces. The fee would be returned equally to each citizen similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund program and could be implemented similarly to the Bush administration’s economic stimulus checks.

Equal dispersal of the collected fees would result in most recipients receiving more dividend than they contributed. Not scaling the dividend directly to the consumers’ pollution will provide an economic disincentive on the polluting practices, therefore driving investment and innovation towards cleaner technologies not subject to the fee.

Kevin Leecaster

Salt Lake City

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