Post Op-Ed Supports Hogan’s Mid-West Power Plant Request to EPA

In a Washington Post op-ed (2017-05-12) environmental authors Richard Revesz and Jack Lienke supported Governor Larry Hogan’s request to  the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requiring certain coal plants in mid-western states to use their pollution-control technology during May through September.  As the op-ed notes, a significant amount of Maryland’s ozone pollution comes from out-of-state, with power plants being the main culprit. From the op-ed:

The problem isn’t that Maryland has failed to reduce ozone-forming emissions within its borders. The problem is that a great deal of Maryland’s ozone pollution — as much as 70 percent on some days — originates in other states. That’s why, last November, Maryland’s Department of the Environment formally petitioned the EPA to force 36 coal-fired power plant units in five upwind states — Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia — to reduce their emissions of ozone-forming nitrogen oxides.

Maryland is legally entitled to this relief. The Clean Air Act explicitly requires states to ensure that no pollution sources in their jurisdiction “contribute significantly” to another state’s inability to meet federal air-quality standards. …

Furthermore, Maryland’s demands are far from burdensome. It doesn’t expect the power plants named in its petition to install expensive new pollution-control technology. The plants have the necessary equipment. Maryland just wants them to use it more often. Specifically, it wants the plants to operate emissions controls every day from May through September. Maryland knows that running controls this frequently is feasible; its own plants have been required to do so since 2015. …

[Even]Pruitt has conceded that, when a pollution problem crosses state lines, federal intervention is sometimes the only viable solution. In this case, coal plants in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are hurting the people of Maryland, and Maryland’s elected officials do not have the power to stop them. Scott Pruitt does. He should use it.

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