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In response to Washington's stalled action on carbon legislation, Montgomery County, Maryland has enacted one of the country's first local carbon taxes.
The bill was passed by an 8-to-1 vote and applies a five dollar tax on every ton of carbon emitted by any stationary source who releases more than one million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually.
Given those parameters, only one source will be targeted, an 850 MW coal power plant owned by the Mirant Corporation.

Treehugger discusses the consumer impact of the bill:
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.
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The bill follows similar carbon taxes enacted in the Bay Area and Boulder, Colorado. News of the bill comes after top U.S. scientists in the National Academy of Sciences urged the federal government to either enact a carbon tax on fossil fuels or a cap-and-trade system to heighten the cost of using coal and oil. It was the group's first pointed policy recommendation.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user Señor Codo via Treehugger\n

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