By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The head of the Environmental Protection Agency signed a proposal to eliminate rules on cutting carbon dioxide emissions at power plants.

For coal-country states, it’s seen as good news, but in Maryland, critics say it could take us backward.

The Obama Administration planned to cut carbon dioxide emissions across the nation by 32 percent by the year 2030. The restrictions applied to gas fired and coal plants, but may now go up in smoke.

“I’ll be signing a proposal to withdraw the so-called Clean Power Plan of the past administration,” EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said Tuesday.

Pruitt made his announcement in coal-heavy Kentucky with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The war on coal has taken a toll; jobs lost, communities suffering, people moving,” McConnell said.

Repealing the restrictions could challenge Maryland efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

“This is making it easier to pollute for longer,” said Jamie DeMarco of the Maryland Clean Air Jobs Initiative. “Which is why it would have been great to have national regulations or policies that reduce the amount of pollution in our country. Unfortunately this administration is going backwards on this issue.”

But McConnell said easing restrictions on coal-powered plants keeps a market for coal open.

The 2006 Maryland Healthy Air Act set emissions limits tighter than the federal standards.

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