Mirant Sues Montgomery Co. Over Carbon Tax

by | Jun 7, 2010

Mirant Mid-Atlantic filed a lawsuit last week against Montgomery County, Md., over its new tax on carbon emissions, according to reports in the Washington Examiner and Maryland Gazette.

According to the reports, Mirant wants to overturn the recently passed law, which seeks to charge $5 per ton of carbon emitted by companies that emit more than 1 million tons in the county. Currently, Mirant is the only company to which the law applies, emitting roughly 3 million tons of carbon annually from a coal burning power plant. County Council member Roger Berliner said Mirant accounts for 25 percent of the carbon emissions in the county.

The company is arguing that the carbon tax is unconstitutional, and is seeking an injunction against its implementation. Berliner said he expects the company to try to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, if possible, but expects the injunction will be dismissed.

The coal burning plant Mirant operates in Montgomery County was named one of the 50 dirtiest plants in the country in 2005, according to the Environmental Integrity Project. The company was also sued by environmental groups for illegal nitrogen oxide emissions from the plant. The company has promised to improve pollution controls. Meanwhile, Maryland’s Department of the Environment sued the company for polluting groundwater with coal-ash from its landfill.

However, the company also recently received top honors from the Roberts Environmental Center of Claremont McKenna College (CMC) in its study on sustainability reporting and environmental efforts among energy companies.

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