Genon Mid-Atlantic, LLC v. Montgomery County, Maryland, No. 10-1882 (4th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff, operator of an electricity plant, sued defendant ("the county"), seeking to enjoin Expedited Bill 29-10, which imposed a levy on large stationary emitters of carbon dioxide within the county, on the ground that it violated the United States and Maryland Constitutions. At issue was whether a Montgomery County exaction on carbon dioxide emissions, levied only upon plaintiff's electricity-generating facility, was a tax or a fee. The court held that the carbon charge, which targeted a single emitter and was located squarely within the county's own "programmatic efforts to reduce" greenhouse gas emissions, was a punitive and regulatory fee over which the federal courts retained jurisdiction. Accordingly, the court reversed and remanded for further proceedings.