The Environment and Infrastructure

The Environment and Infrastructure. They need to be preserved! We absolutely need to protect our environment. As pollution crosses state boundaries through the air and waterways, only the federal government can sign treaties with other countries (when a worldwide effort is needed to address global warming), and proving causation for harm in a civil suit relating to an environmental cause is often virtually impossible, a strong federal approach to preserving the environment is necessary.  

The EPA has done some good things, such as cleaning up The Great Lakes. It and local governments have also failed. Consider the Flint, Michigan situation. In a situation like Flint’s, the government employees who say the water is safe to use should be required to use that water for all their water needs. A potential help for both the environment and infrastructure: Change the gas tax to be an energy tax with the following general concept—the cleaner a fuel is, the less tax it bears and the dirtier a fuel is, the more tax it bears.

If, in the future, one-third of our vehicles run on gasoline, one-third run on natural gas and one-third run on electric batteries, and the respective ‘well to wheels’ carbon dioxide and other harmful output weights for a given vehicle for a particular distance is 6, 3 and 1, then the tax would be allocated so that gasoline bears twice as much a natural gas and six times as much as electricity.  Not all sources of electricity are equal in terms of cleanliness. Electricity produced from coal is roughly as dirty as gasoline.Thus, the tax applicable to vehicles that run on electricity would be charged by the power plant based on inputs to produce the power. Materials on vehicles electricity sources (PDF). The bill follows. The Environmental Transportation Tax Act (PDF). I would support similar tax changes for energy other than vehicle fuels. Concerning global warming, I believe it is happening, and I believe humans are at least partially the cause. The Economist Briefing Climate Change Sep 21 2019 (PDF). The attached article from The Wall Street Journal notes that the decade ended in 2019 was the warmest on record. WSJ article on the Environment Jan 16 2020 (PDF).

There is a major problem with plastic containers.  They are causing problems to waterways, lakes and oceans.  A possible solution is to require recycling, re-use, or harnessing and safety storage of containers by container producers, to the degree their product is sold. 

The U.S. needs to work with other countries (possibly through the U.N.) to induce preservation of the Amazon rainforest. Roads and bridges need to be preserved, and we need to fund their preservation. With the exception of the interstate highway system, consideration should be given to moving all roads matters to the states. The following report from the CBO regarding the Highway Trust Fund explains how the current federal roads tax system works. It includes some interesting facts, including the federal/state funding percentages, relative harm done to roads and bridges caused by autos and trucks, and the percent of vehicles fueled by electricity in 2019.  56346-CBO-Highway-Reauthorization