BALTIMORE (AP) — A Maryland panel has advanced new protections against smog pollution proposed by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The Air Quality Control Advisory Council formally recommended approval of the protections Monday.

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The panel approved a requirement for all coal plants in the state that currently lack state-of-the-art pollution control technology to include the new technology by 2020, or else retire the facilities or retrofit them.

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A coalition of the state’s community, health and environmental groups praised the new safeguards. The groups include the Sierra Club, Chesapeake Climate Action Network and Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility.

The proposals still need to be reviewed by a panel of lawmakers and go through a public comment period.

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