New Yorkers fed up with pointlessly idling vehicles burning noxious liquid dinosaurs into the atmosphere may soon have a way to do something about it—and get paid for it, too.

Upper West Side Councilmember Helen Rosenthal and Rockaways Councilmember Donovan Richards, Jr., are proposing a bill that would allow New Yorkers to film and report idling cars and trucks. The Department of Environmental Protection would then be able to issue a summons based off the information in the video clips, netting the Lorax as much as half of the subsequent fine.

"You could probably become a millionaire doing this thing," Richards joked to reporters at a press conference outside of City Hall earlier today.

According to a 2009 report from the Environmental Defense Fund [PDF], idling vehicles in NYC emit 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide every year. The report notes that the City would need to plant an area of trees the size of Manhattan each year to counteract the pollution (put another way: 40,000 cars could drive from Midtown to JFK with the gasoline burned by the city's idlers each day). The pollution also contributes to asthma, cancer, and other chronic health problems.

Current law requires that stationary drivers cut their engines after three minutes (one minute in a school zone) or face a warning; subsequent violations trigger a $220 fine.

But the councilmembers say that law isn't being enforced.

"Only 209 [summonses] were issued last year. We know, if you drive around Manhattan today you could get 1,000 summonses easily," Richards said. "The City is not doing its part."

The bill, which will be introduced tomorrow, would raise the first fine to $350, and allow for citizens to submit evidence of the crime, much like a current law against illegal dumping. In order to submit evidence and collect a reward, New Yorkers will have to take a class and register with the DEP; the classes would be offered five times a year.

Asked whether the bill endorsed a form of "vigilante justice" that might provoke heated confrontations, Councilmember Rosenthal replied that she was ‪"not ready to say that this is anything more than giving opportunity for more individuals to simply and appropriately video tape what's going on and upload that information.‬"

She added, "I have more confidence in New York City residents."

In an email, mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell writes, "We haven’t seen the bill and will review it once it’s introduced.”

"It's not just about the money but it's also about changing human behavior and people may not know they are doing damage to the environment, to their elders, to their children, hypothetically in some cases killing people," Richards said. "The accumulation of this particulate matter leads to strokes, leads to heart disease, asthma, and in particular, communities of color, which feel the biggest brunt of the pollution."