San Francisco Bay Area businesses could face major fines—the first ever imposed by a local government—based on the amount of climate-changing emissions they produce annually, the New York Times reports. The move, which the Bay Area Air Quality Management District could make official May 21, would skirt plodding debate that has held up action at the national and state levels.
The agency is weighing a fee of 4.4 cents per ton of carbon dioxide produced, generating fines of up to $195,355 for a Shell oil refinery, the region's largest emitter of the gas. The measure would bring in an estimated $1.1 million annually. “This just raises more uncertainty at a time of increasing uncertainties,” an opposed oil rep says.