Montgomery County Passes Carbon Tax May 29, 2010 : 4:06 PM

Montgomery County (just outside of DC) became the first county in America to pass a carbon tax. Keith Harrington at Grist tells the story of how it happened: (Some city governments including Boulder, Colorado, have also passed carbon taxes.)

“It would be hard to dream up a more delightful twist to cap off a campaign that was about as dramatic as they come in the world of county politics. Desperate to prevent what they rightly saw as a precedent that could unleash an avalanche of similar laws across the country, the Mirant Corporation -- owners of the big coal plant that was facing the $15 million tax -- spared no expense in their efforts to kill the bill. They ran an all-out astroturf campaign that was about as dirty as the energy they produce -- outrageously mischaracterizing the bill as anti-environmental, and setting up a website that is known to have generated at least one fraudulent email.”

"Local climate activists with the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and other groups responded with a salvo of real, unpurchased and unmanufactured grassroots emails, petitions, and phone calls to the councilmembers, but right up to the key council subcommittee vote on Tuesday, there was a serious concern that Mirant's underhanded tactics might win the day."