By Beth Lawrence 

A lobby group will host an event Saturday to teach residents how to petition lawmakers to create climate change policies.

The Climate Advocacy Training and Group Start class is being conducted by Citizens Climate Lobby. The free session is from 1-4:30 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 18 Jackson St., Sylva.

The group describes themselves as a nonpartisan volunteer group. Citizens Climate Lobby focuses on national lawmakers encouraging them to take action on climate change.

The focus of the session is to educate participants on the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act.

The act is sponsored by Rep. Theodore Deutch of Florida. It has been reviewed by the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Foreign Affairs committees and was referred to the House Subcommittee on Energy in January.

If passed into law, the bill would levy fees “on the carbon content of fuels, including crude oil, natural gas, coal, or any other product derived from those fuels that will be used so as to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,” according to Congress’ website.

Fees would be paid by producers and importers of those types of fuels and would be determined using the formula “greenhouse gas content of the fuel multiplied by the carbon fee rate.” Rates begin at $15 and would increase by $10 per year. The bill would impose a fee on fluorinated greenhouse gases as well. A list of exemptions is included in the bill’s language.

On Saturday, trainers will teach techniques residents can employ when lobbying Congress and ways to build public and political goodwill for the topic.

“We’ve learned that our U.S. Representative Mark Meadows needs to hear from constituents in the western part of his district,” said Erin McCully, Western North Carolina group leader. “You might be surprised to learn that Congressman Meadows has already mentioned that his staff is considering the merits of a carbon tax, a climate change policy that has long had bipartisan support. And the difference between ‘considering’ and ‘supporting’ is us.” 

Host committee members for Saturday are McCully, Amanda Allen, Rev. Pattie Curtis and Ian Jeffress, of Sylva, Lauren Hickman of Franklin, and Robert Franz and Aimée Quillen of Whittier.

The group works across the political, social and geographical spectrum to advance their efforts.

The CCL’s philosophy is, advocates can build upon “shared values rather than partisan divides” to enable activists to work and advocate for issues in their communities and “work towards the adoption of fair, effective, and sustainable climate change solutions,”  Jim Tolbert, CCL Conservative Outreach Director, said.

The group is headquartered in San Diego and claims nine active subgroups in North Carolina with 3,200 members statewide and 500 in the 11th Congressional District, one full-time staff member in Asheville and one in Durham.

For information, email McCully at elmccully@gmail.com, visit www.citizensclimatelobby.org, or register at https://sylvanccatw.eventbrite.com. The seminar has a 50 person limit.