As the recent election votes have been counted and reported, there is one local result that did not get much attention. Voters in Lyons Township approved ballot referendum to advocate for a carbon fee and dividend plan at the federal level to address climate change.  

It was favored by 63 percent of the voters, which suggests broad and bipartisan support. HR 763, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act is before the current U.S. House and was sponsored by three of our local representatives, Dan Lipinski, Danny Davis and Jesus Garcia. 

This bill proposes an increasing fee on fossil fuels and distribution of the proceeds to people, helping especially those of middle and low income. This is an important aspect of the effort, to reduce carbon emissions without hurting those who are now struggling financially.  

I hope the incoming legislators will take note of the popularity of this approach and renew the efforts behind this program in the next Congress. 

Senator Dick Durbin has also written and sponsored the America’s Clean Future Fund Act in the Senate. This bill would impose a delayed fee on fossil fuels, promote clean energy jobs and advance research and development of alternative energy sources. This bill would also include rebates to individuals and farmers who can help eliminate carbon pollution. 

These two approaches differ in their details, but the aims are similar – to alleviate the future effects on global climate change. 

This local election as well as previous studies by Yale University among other organizations demonstrate widespread public support for climate action.

Richard Swanson