The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and O'Malley administration have an important opportunity to protect our health, but they're stalling.
The Crane and Wagner coal-fired power plants, right outside of Baltimore, operate with permits allowing them to spew sulfur dioxide pollution at levels exceeding healthy limits established by the EPA. The pollution range of the plants covers more than 100 parks, recreation areas, and schools, potentially harming 35,000 children in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties.
Now the plants are being sold, giving the MDE a unique opportunity to revise their permits and reduce their pollution levels. Unfortunately, despite possessing studies that demonstrate the plants' health risks, Secretary Summers has yet to announce intentions to address Crane and Wagner's dangerous pollution levels.
It is up to you to protect our health from air pollution caused by dirty coal plants outside of Baltimore. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the sale of the Brandon Shores, Herbert Wagner, and CP Crane coal plants to Riverstone Holdings, and now the Maryland Department of the Environment must decide whether to ensure the new owners will meet pollution limits sufficient to protect our health from sulfur dioxide and other dangerous pollutants.
Modeling requested by your own administration shows that sulfur dioxide levels in the Baltimore area could reach up to nine times the level the Environmental Protection Agency deems safe, and that the pollution is "related mostly to power plants" and "due mostly to Brandon Shores/Wagner."
Secretary Summers and Governor O'Malley, please protect public health by directing the Maryland Department of the Environment to ratchet down pollution limits for these outdated coal plants around Baltimore before transferring the permits to Riverstone.
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