(ANNAPOLIS, MD)—On Wednesday, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh announced the state appealed the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's decision to deny Maryland's efforts to reduce air pollution from 19 out-of-state power plants.
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) is supporting Maryland's legal efforts to compel the EPA to maintain its responsibility under the Clean Air Act to reduce pollution that crosses state lines. CBF, as it did in the previous lawsuit, plans to soon join Maryland in the appeal in the U.S Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
The move to appeal provides the state with another opportunity to compel EPA to reduce the harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) that drift to Maryland after being emitted by the power plants in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Last month, EPA formally denied five petitions—one from Maryland and four from Delaware—that had asked the federal agency to require stricter emissions standards at upwind power plants.
The NOx emissions from the plants form ground-level ozone pollution, known as smog, that can cause health issues such as difficulty breathing and asthma attacks as well as nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. Airborne sources of pollution primarily from power plant emissions, vehicle exhaust, and animal agriculture account for about one-third of the nitrogen that enters the Chesapeake Bay.
Following Maryland's decision to appeal EPA's denial, Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Vice President of Litigation Jon Mueller issued the following the statement:
"If EPA will not act to reduce air pollution that hinders the Chesapeake Bay cleanup, accelerates climate change, and harms human health then the Chesapeake Bay Foundation will do everything it can to support states such as Maryland that will challenge the federal agency in court. CBF and its partners will soon join Maryland in its appeal.
"Only EPA can enforce the Clean Air Act to prevent the out-of-state power plants from spewing harmful pollution that ultimately settles in the Bay and its watershed. CBF believes states such as Maryland must continue to contest EPA's recent policy of supporting big business interests at the expense of the environment and human health."