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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Maryland Seeks to Challenge EPA Over Toxic
Power Plant Emissions

BALTIMORE, MD (March 21, 2007) – Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler and Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson today announced that Maryland filed a motion to join a lawsuit with other state and municipal governments and environmental organizations challenging the EPA’s regulations governing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The lawsuit seeks a court order to overturn the rules and require the EPA to establish tighter limits on mercury emissions from power plants.

The government petitioners assert that the cap-and-trade program established by the federal Clean Air Mercury Rule (CAMR) to regulate mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants violates the Clean Air Act and fails to sufficiently reduce mercury emissions. Under the EPA’s mercury rule, power plants can elect to achieve compliance through the purchase of emission allowances rather than through installation of local pollution controls, which will result in increased mercury emissions and local “hotspots” of mercury deposition.

“Maryland’s residents and its environment are adversely impacted by the transport of mercury emissions from upwind, out-of-state power plants,” said Attorney General Gansler. “A federal regulation requiring the installation of state-of-the-art pollution control technology at coal-fired plants out of state will help reduce dangerous mercury emissions in Maryland and protect our air quality.”

The newly enacted Healthy Air Act marks an important step for Maryland toward reducing mercury emissions from its own coal-fired power plants. By 2010, coal-fired power plants subject to the Act will be required to reduce mercury emissions by 80 percent from current levels, and in 2013, by 90 percent from current levels through the installation of pollution control technology

Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury emissions in the United States. Mercury settles in waterways and accumulates in fish. In people who eat those fish, the toxic metal can cause neurological and developmental problems, particularly in fetuses and children.

 



   

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