Press Release

BALTIMORE (September 24, 1998) --Maryland praised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today for finalizing a program to reduce transported air pollution by substantially reducing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) throughout the eastern United States. Nitrogen oxides are a major contributor to ozone and smog, an air pollution problem which affects large parts of Maryland, including the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan areas, on hot summer days. Throughout 1998, Maryland has experienced 10 exceedances of the health-based federal ozone standard.

NOx is a byproduct of fuel combustion sources, notably at fossil-fuel fired electric utilities. EPA’s program, which requires NOx reductions in 22 eastern states and the District of Columbia, is designed to reduce the amount of NOx and ozone transported from state to state and recognizes that emissions produced in one state affect pollution levels in other states. In addition to major public health improvements, Maryland will experience reduced airborne nitrogen deposition into waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay.

Even before today’s EPA action, Maryland has taken steps to reduce NOx emissions. As a member of the Ozone Transport Commission, Maryland committed to a regional plan to reduce NOx throughout the Northeast. In addition, this summer Maryland adopted a NOx reduction rule which requires major sources to reduce NOx emissions by 65% by May 1999. "Recognizing the importance of NOx reductions to clean air and the influence of transport, Maryland has moved ahead with these programs. We encourage other states to do their fair share to make clean air an achievable goal for the entire country," stated Maryland Secretary of the Environment Jane Nishida.

Maryland is committed to working with EPA and other states to ensure timely implementation of the EPA rule and to achieve clean air in Maryland and other states affected by ozone pollution.