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Proposed fee would charge businesses for their carbon emissions

The fee could be implemented in the 2025 budget.
Image by Noah Liebl
The fee will not come out of taxpayers’ pockets and hold businesses accountable.

A proposal for Minneapolis’ 2025 city budget would charge businesses a fee based on their carbon emissions, a policy commonly known as a carbon emission tax. 

The three businesses estimated to pay the most in fees are NRG Energy Center Minneapolis, the Owens Corning – Minneapolis Plant and Hennepin County Energy Center, according to the report. 

The city will use emissions data collected by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to determine how much each company is taxed, according to the report. 

While Minneapolis already has programs to mitigate carbon emissions, activists argue taxpayers are paying for the cost of emissions.

Council Member Robin Wonsley (Ward 2) said in a statement to the Minnesota Daily that the tax fees would be used to pay for more city programs designed to reduce emissions. 

“This will help the city reach carbon emission reduction goals, in a cost-neutral way to working-class residents who are already paying for the social costs of pollution and climate change,” Wonsley said in the statement 

Under the plan, Minneapolis businesses must send an annual emissions inventory report to MPCA to track emissions of major pollutants, according to the report. The MPCA tracks harmful air pollutants and greenhouse gasses released by the companies.

The report estimates the Hennepin County Energy Center would pay over $35,0000 worth of fees for their emissions.

Dave McNary, the Hennepin County Environment and Energy assistant director, said the county is actively looking to find ways to reduce its carbon emissions. The facility generates energy for county buildings, parts of downtown Minneapolis, and a medical center through steam and chilled water.

“The biggest thing for us is what happens at the medical center as they revise their campus,” McNary said. “They’re looking at doing something in the future, maybe adding space, demolishing other space. So that would be the opportunity to really decarbonize the entire system.” 

The Facilities Director of Minneapolis College Roger Broz said in a statement to the Minnesota Daily that the college is looking to reduce emissions by implementing more energy-efficient lighting controls, lighting sensors and LED lights. 

The college is also monitoring its annual waste while implementing the smart operation of heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls to limit unnecessary energy use. 

The report suggested a cost analysis to learn which pollutants are harmful to Minneapolis and which ones require more monitoring and data.

Corrections: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the fee as a tax in the headline. It also incorrectly stated that the Hennepin County Energy Center burns trash.

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