Statement From MDE Secretary on Court Ruling on Federal Air Quality Rule

BALTIMORE, MD (August 21, 2012) – Maryland Secretary of the Environment Robert M. Summers today released the following statement on the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which addresses air pollution from power plants that contributes to unhealthy air in downwind states.

“The court ruling vacating EPA's CSAPR rule is very disappointing. Maryland was among a group of states that intervened in the court case to defend the rule. The court decision deals a significant blow to our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of our air in Maryland. Maryland has worked very hard to reduce air pollution through programs such as the Maryland Healthy Air Act, the toughest power plant emission law on the east coast, and the Clean Cars Program and through implementation of stringent emission limitations on many other sources. Because as much as 70 percent of our air pollution problem comes from upwind states, we need the emissions reductions from sources in these states that we would have realized from implementation of CSAPR.

"The 2005 Clean Air Act Interstate Rule remains in effect, but that rule is not strong enough to protect Marylanders from the effects of out-of-state air pollution. We are reviewing the court's 100-plus-page decision and will confer with EPA on any next steps. In the meantime, we continue to do as much as we can in Maryland to protect our environment and the health of our citizens."