CEI House PROVE IT Act Coalition Letter

Dear Representative:

Since a House companion to the PROVE IT Act (S.1863) may be introduced soon, the undersigned organizations want to express our strong opposition to this pro-tax, anti-energy legislation that will lead to both a carbon tax on imports and a domestic carbon tax.

The PROVE IT Act requires the Department of Energy to collect, analyze, and regularly update  data on the carbon intensity of domestic and foreign goods. Through the creation of this federal administrative framework, Congress would be removing one of the biggest obstacles to the imposition of carbon taxes on both imported and domestically produced goods.

It is clear that this information would then be used to impose new “climate” taxes, similar to what Democrats in Congress did during the summer of 2022. In the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which no Republicans supported in either the House or the Senate, Congress took information collected under the EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting program and imposed the first-ever federal methane tax. The Senate passed the IRA on a 51-50 party-line vote with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tiebreaker.

Many PROVE IT Act supporters have shown they seek a replay of the methane tax maneuver. In the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee markup of the bill, all Committee Democrats voted to kill an amendment that would have helped block the future use of reconciliation to use PROVE IT Act information to impose carbon taxes on either imported or domestically produced goods. Chairman Tom Carper (D-DE) opposed the amendment precisely because it “prohibits any revenue measure based on the greenhouse gas emissions associated with commodities or products.”

Many of the bill supporters expressly admit that the legislation would be used to develop carbon taxes of some kind. Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), a lead sponsor and a past sponsor of domestic carbon tax legislation has said the PROVE IT Act will inform the “process for imposing tariffs on countries that don’t have any transparency around their emissions” as “part of any border carbon adjustment mechanism.” The European Union (EU) has created the first and only carbon border adjustment mechanism and it includes both a carbon tax on imports and a domestic carbon pricing scheme. 

Once a carbon tax on imported goods is created, the U.S. would inevitably impose a domestic carbon tax. This is due both to trade law obligations and because environmental groups and others would not stay silent as domestic industries fail to meet similar greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Also, most domestic manufacturers would oppose a domestic carbon tax absent a corresponding tax on imports to “level the playing field.” Enacting the corresponding tax on imports would therefore weaken industry opposition to a domestic carbon tax.

The U.S. House recently passed a bipartisan resolution opposing and explaining the many harmful effects of domestic carbon taxes (H.Con.Res.86). The PROVE IT Act would help to make those harms a reality.

We find it very concerning that legislators would support a bill that would lead to:

Massive New Taxes. It’s not just a domestic carbon tax that would inflict financial pain on Americans. The burden of a carbon tax on imports would primarily be borne by American businesses and consumers. It acts as a domestic consumption tax.

Punishing Energy Use. Since more than 80 percent of the world’s energy comes from coal, natural gas, and oil, which produce carbon dioxide emissions, carbon taxes are taxes on the energy that make modern life possible. Put more simply, a carbon tax is a tax on modern life.

Hurting the Poor. All Americans would suffer through higher prices due to these taxes. This would always be harmful, but it’s especially harmful now as the United States suffers through years of inflation. Higher prices due to carbon taxes, especially to meet basic needs, would have a disproportionate impact on low-income households.

Embracing EU’s Extreme Climate Policy. Instead of fighting and rejecting the EU’s disastrous climate policy, the PROVE IT Act embraces what the EU is doing. Many supporters advocate for a carbon border adjustment mechanism and seek to create a “carbon club” of countries that join together to impose carbon taxes in some fashion.

Americans want affordable and reliable energy, not federal tax schemes that treat energy use as a sin. This bill though would lead to such taxes and is one of the biggest threats to energy and economic prosperity in recent memory.

Therefore, we strongly urge legislators to oppose the PROVE IT Act and ensure that it is not included, in any form, within other legislation.


Daren Bakst
Director, Center for Energy and Environment
Competitive Enterprise Institute

Lisa B. Nelson
Chief Executive Officer
ALEC Action

John Droz, Jr.
Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions

Phil Kerpen
American Commitment

Kristen Walker
Policy Analyst
The American Consumer Institute

Thomas J. Pyle
American Energy Alliance

Hon. Jason Isaac
American Energy Institute

Margaret Byfield
Executive Director
American Stewards of Liberty

Richard Manning
Americans for Limited Government

Brent Gardner
Chief Government Affairs Officer
Americans for Prosperity

Grover Norquist
Americans for Tax Reform 

David T. Stevenson
Director, Center for Energy & Environment
Caesar Rodney Institute

Ryan Ellis
Center for a Free Economy

Daniel Mitchell
Center for Freedom and Prosperity

Jeffrey Mazzella
Center for Individual Freedom

John Hinderaker
Center of the American Experiment

André Béliveau
Senior Manager of Energy Policy
Commonwealth Foundation

Matthew Kandrach
Consumer Action for a Strong Economy

E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D.
Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation

Jerry Simmons
President and CEO
Domestic Energy Producers Alliance

Kristen Ullman
Eagle Forum

Craig Richardson
Energy and Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal)

George Landrith
Frontiers of Freedom

Cameron Sholty
Executive Director
Heartland Impact

James Taylor
The Heartland Institute

Ryan Walker
Executive Vice President
Heritage Action for America

Mario H. Lopez
Hispanic Leadership Fund

Gabriella Hoffman
Director, Center for Energy and Conservation
Independent Women’s Voice

Tom Harris
Executive Director
International Climate Science Coalition

Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life
John Locke Foundation

Seton Motley
Less Government

Charles Sauer
Market Institute

Brandon Arnold
Executive Vice President
National Taxpayers Union

Daniel C. Turner
Executive Director
Power the Future

Donna Jackson
Director of Membership Development
Project 21

Paul Gessing
Rio Grande Foundation

Bette Grande
CEO and President
Roughrider Policy Center

James E. Enstrom
Scientific Integrity Institute

Karen Kerrigan
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

David Williams
Taxpayers Protection Alliance

Greg Sindelar
Texas Public Policy Foundation

Derrick Max
President and CEO
Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy

Frank Lasee
Truth in Energy and Climate

Ben Zycher
Senior Fellow
*American Enterprise Institute

*Affiliation is for identification purposes only.