Not Waiting For the Feds, Carbon Tax Enacted by Montgomery County, Maryland

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photo: Codo via flickr

Not waiting for national legislation to set a price on carbon and kickstart the journey to a low-carbon future, Montgomery County, Maryland has enacted one the country's first carbon taxes. Passed by a vote of 8-to-1 the tax applies to stationary emitters of CO2 releasing more than one million tons annually into the atmosphere. Power Plant Owner & Utility Differ on Consumer Impact
It's Getting Hot In Here points out that this means only one source in the county will feel the pinch, an 850 MW coal power plant, located 40 miles from Washington DC, and owned by the Mirant Corporation.

Though Mirant has lobbied for at least two years against any federal action on carbon emissions and has claimed that the carbon tax will mean rate increases for consumers, the local utility Pepco says it will not have a major effect on electricity rates.

At least half of the expected $15 million revenue from the $5/ton tax will go fund county-level energy efficiency programs.

Mike Tidwell of Chesapeake Climate Action Network praised the bill:

With this heroic vote in the DC suburbs today, the coal lobby might want to prepare for local actions across the country. Local power-plants are legal and now necessary given the success of the coal industry in watering down and delaying real action on coal pollution in Congress.

Read more: It's Getting Hot In Here

Variations of carbon taxes have previously been enacted by Boulder, Colorado and in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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