April 22, 2010

Berliner proposes carbon tax on major emitters

As drops in buckets go, this is very small drop in a very big bucket. Just in time for Earth Day, Montgomery County Council member and longtime energy lawyer Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) is proposing an excise tax on major carbon emitters in the county. He said his goal is to spur faster action to address global warming. And if he can raise millions of dollars a year with the carbon tax, he said, that will be another welcome byproduct. The proposal would put a $5 tax on each ton of carbon dioxide sent skyward by "major emitters." In Montgomery, that means one facility: the 843-megawatt Dickerson generating plant that Mirant runs near Poolesville.

That facility accounts for about 2.33 million tons of carbon dioxide yearly. The nation's annual greenhouse gas tally has hit about 7 billion tons in recent years. Mirant officials appear ready for a fight. The firm generates power across Maryland, in Alexandria, in California and beyond. Asked whether company executives are prepared to pay the tax, a Mirant spokeswoman said simply: "No."

Berliner said that the tax would help county coffers in a time of serious fiscal challenges and that Pepco officials told him that the tax would have no discernable impact on rates. The county is paying to reduce its emissions, and the biggest emitters should pitch in, he said. "We are spending, and will be spending, millions of dollars on carbon-reducing programs," Berliner said. SOURCE: Washington Post

No comments: