(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—Jon Mueller, Vice President of Litigation at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF), issued this statement following Maryland's notification today that it plans to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to respond to the state's petition for action against 19 upwind power plants. CBF will submit a similar notice of intent to sue on this issue.
Maryland Department of the Environment forecast a Code Red Air Quality Alert today for Metropolitan Baltimore, meaning unhealthy air pollution for everyone in the area. Code Orange was forecast for other areas of Maryland, meaning unhealthy air for children, older people, and people with lung problems.
"We join and wholeheartedly support Maryland in its effort to protect the health of its residents and the Chesapeake Bay against upwind, out-of-state power plants which choose to make higher profits rather than turn on their pollution controls during hot summer months.
"Today's unhealthy air in Maryland underscores the need for federal action.
"Nineteen upwind power plants installed pollution controls, but they too often decide not to turn on the technology. In 2014, they earned an extra $24 million in profit by not using the controls. Meanwhile, ozone levels were unhealthy for sensitive Marylanders for multiple days this summer, and today for everyone in the Baltimore area. About 70 percent of Maryland's ozone problem comes from these upwind plants.
"Pollution from out-of-state power plants also harms our in-state streams, rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay. Studies show nitrogen oxides from coal plant emissions degrade our water, and harm our fish and other aquatic life.
"Maryland power companies have taken responsibility for proper pollution controls at their plants, and air quality has improved significantly in the state in the past ten years. Now upwind power plants in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and West Virginia need to put human health above profits."