Bloomberg View’s editorial published in The Bakersfield Californian on Oct. 26 ("A new coal subsidy would come at a high price") presented troubling information on Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s new coal subsidy proposal. The subsidy would raise energy bills, placing the burden on energy consumers. Additionally, it would worsen air pollution and further drive climate change while ignoring the interests of public health. Despite the references made to “clean coal,” coal will never be clean as long as the carbon dioxide produced through burning coal is allowed to escape into the atmosphere.

Instead of attempting to revitalize the dying coal industry, the current administration should be focusing on reducing carbon emissions. One way to achieve this would be a national carbon fee. Under this proposal, companies that extract fossil fuels would be fined on an increasing yearly scale for the carbon dioxide and pollutants released from those fuels. As a result, green energy sources would become more competitive and attractive.

Revenues generated from the fee could be used for tax reduction, alternative energy research or, as Citizens’ Climate Lobby proposes, redistributed to American households. Federal legislation would be required to implement this policy. A carbon fee and dividend policy would recommit the United States to the global goal of reducing carbon emissions.

— Mark Steele, Bakersfield