BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Environmentalists and 49 state Democrats are urging the Hogan administration to impose tougher water pollution standards on coal-fired power plants and not wait for rules delayed by the Trump administration. That’s according to our media partners at The Baltimore Sun.
Water pollution permits for three of the state’s seven-coal fired plants are up for renewal. Initially, Maryland proposed permits that wouldn’t require the power plants to immediately install technology that would significantly reduce heavy metals discharged into waterways.
Rules from the Obama administration would have required these power plants to install technology next year to reduce the amount of selenium, arsenic, mercury, and lead released in their waste water.
This year, President Trump tried to repeal the “Effluent Limit Guidelines” that required all plants to use the “best available technology” by 2018 to reduce the heavy metals released into the water. Then the EPA delayed the effective date of those rules.
In a letter to Governor Hogan, environmentalists and Democrats urged the Republican governor to act sooner than the federal government requires.
The letter obtained by The Baltimore Sun reads in part:
“There are simple and affordable ways for coal plants to reduce or eliminate their toxic waste, and many coal plants across the country have already done so. But for the change in the presidency, Maryland’s plants would have been required to make similar changes to reduce excessive amounts of cancer-causing toxins from flowing unchecked into our waterways. We call on you do what’s right for our citizens, our environment and our natural resources.”
Governor Hogan’s administration has already taken on the EPA under President Trump. In September, Maryland sued the EPA saying it had not done enough to enforce air-quality laws that the federal government was letting pollution from coal-powered plants in five other states degrade air quality here.
This pending lawsuit deals with enforcement of the federal Clean Air Act. The re-permitting of coal plants that’s in discussion in Maryland deals with rules under the federal Clean Water Act.
The state is proposing they do so by the deadline in current federal guidelines between 2020 and 2023 and not by the 2018 deadline proposed by the Obama administration.