From the Chesapeake Bay Foundation:
Power plants in distant states such as Kentucky and Indiana are harming the Chesapeake Bay—and you. On hot and sunny days, air pollution from 19 upwind power plants forms ground-level ozone that causes health problems such as shortness of breath, wheezing, and headaches here in Maryland. This air pollution also contributes to excess nitrogen pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries which leads to algae blooms and dead zones where no aquatic life can survive.
The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) petitioned the EPA to require these 19 power plants to turn on their pollution controls during every day of the ozone season (generally May through September) to prevent air pollution that puts many Marylanders at risk of serious health issues. Unfortunately, this past June, the EPA announced that it planned to deny Maryland’s Petition.
Summertime is a special season for Bay lovers. Many of us enjoy spending as much time outside as possible, swimming and fishing in our favorite waterways, working in our gardens, and hiking. But hot and sunny weather isn’t fun for everyone, as these upwind power plants have serious public health consequences for many of Maryland’s most vulnerable residents during the summer months. Already this year, the Baltimore area received Code Orange alerts nine times when ozone levels were unhealthy for sensitive groups and exceeded EPA’s human health standard.
These 19 power plants already have pollution control measures in place but don’t always fully operate them during the ozone season, which MDE found likely increased their bottom line. This is unacceptable. EPA should grant Maryland’s Petition to ensure the upwind plants do what is right—and required—under the federal Clean Air Act. They need to hear from you before the July 23 public comment deadline.
For the Bay,
Maryland Advocacy and Outreach Manager
Chesapeake Bay Foundation