by Paul Bowers
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, a Republican from the South Carolina Upstate, signed a pledge last week stating that he "will oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue." Duncan is the ninth elected official from South Carolina to sign the No Climate Tax pledge since Americans for Prosperity started seeking signatures in 2008.
Duncan, a South Carolina native who previously worked in banking and real estate marketing, has represented the state's third congressional district since 2011. Duncan joined more than 400 other elected officials nationwide in signing the pledge.
Americans for Prosperity describes itself in press releases as a "free market grassroots group," a modest description for the conservative advocacy group founded by billionaire libertarians David and Charles Koch. The group spent an estimated $33 million on advertisements opposing President Barack Obama's re-election in 2012, and
The other current South Carolina politicians who have signed the pledge are:
• U.S. Sen. Tim Scott
• U.S. Reps. Joe Wilson, Trey Gowdy, and Mick Mulvaney
• State Sens. Kevin Bryant, Ray Cleary, and Paul Thurmond
• State Rep. Peter McCoy
According to the No Climate Tax website, the pledge is specifically opposed to proposals of a cap-and-trade energy tax, which would require companies to pay the government for emissions permits on coal, oil, and natural gas. The website describes the pledge as "an effort to separate the tax question from the climate change issue." One cap-and-trade bill, the American Clean Energy and Security Act, narrowly passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2009, but it failed in the Senate despite the surprise backing of South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham.
Graham is notably absent on the list of No Climate Tax pledge signers, as is Republican Gov. Nikki Haley.