Students Present to the U.S. House of Representatives in D.C.

by Brigid Mulholland

Late last year, the Pittsburgh chapter of Citizen’s Climate Lobby (CCL) offered students from Duquesne University’s MBA Sustainable Business Practices program a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — to appear before the Pennsylvanian congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., and present our research on the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (EICDA). Allison Georgeson, Tierra Johnson, Dana Palumbo and I jumped at the chance to be part of such a notable project. Together, we spent an entire semester investigating the economic effects that this policy would have on Pennsylvania, and our hard work came to fruition last week when we went to Capitol Hill to present our findings. Dr. Robert Sroufe—a devoted mentor during this entire process—accompanied us on this unforgettable trip.

EICDA is a groundbreaking bill that’s designed to be a nonpartisan solution to our climate crisis. The bill would place a fee on fossil fuels, pool those fees into a fund, and return the money to households as a monthly dividend. The Duquesne research team found that most Pennsylvanians would see immediate financial benefits from this dividend, which corroborates other economic research studies on this policy. Our D.C. presentation included a district-level analysis of this phenomenon, which captured the interest of the congressional staffers in the audience. After we finished presenting, Rep. Mike Doyle’s congressional aide gave us an educational (and entertaining) tour of the U.S. Capitol Grounds. Then, Dr. Sroufe bought us tater tots and we all went home.

I will be forever grateful for having the chance to go on this trip to D.C. with my lovely classmates and amazing professor. We all hope that our presentation enlightened the Pennsylvanian congressional delegation and that they use their new insight to make policy decisions that benefit both the climate and their constituents.