Sierra Club Cautions against Weakening New Maryland Smog Protections

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Changes to proposed safeguards could harm public health, asthma sufferers
Adam Beitman, Sierra Club, adam.beitman@sierraclub.org, (202) 675-2385

Baltimore, MD — In a statement today, Sierra Club voiced concerns about potential changes to new smog protections being proposed by the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

David Smedick, a representative of Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign in Maryland, said “We strongly back a robust approach to reduce dangerous levels of smog coming from Maryland’s coal-fired power plants. Comprehensive smog protections will greatly improve the health of our citizens—especially those suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Unfortunately, there are troubling signs that MDE is considering weakening its proposed protections, putting children and families at risk.”

Many of Maryland’s coal plants have failed to install the best available pollution controls; technology that would prevent dangerous levels of pollution. This failure is one of the reasons why Marylanders continue to suffer from some of the worst air quality and highest smog levels in the eastern United States.

Josh Tulkin, Director of the Maryland Sierra Club, said “Maryland should once again become a leader in clean air protections, and Governor O’Malley can make that a reality. We strongly support MDE’s previously proposed safeguards because they present a robust, commonsense approach to significantly reduce harmful smog throughout our state. Governor O’Malley and MDE should make it clear that they have no intention of weakening what had been a strong draft proposal. Maryland needs comprehensive clean air protections so that vulnerable groups, like the elderly and children with asthma, can breathe a little easier.”

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