Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (Sept. 3, 1999) – In response to a decision by the Midwest and Southern states to reject a settlement proposal that would have reduced emissions and improved Maryland’s air quality, Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Secretary Jane Nishida today pledged to continue to urge the federal government to hold those other states responsible for their excessive emissions.

"The decision by the Midwest and Southeast states to walk away from this settlement is particularly bad news for the 600,000 Marylanders with respiratory ailments who are especially susceptible to air pollution," MDE Secretary Nishida said. "Maryland is not going to give up on this fight to reduce the migration of air pollution from other states. Marylanders deserve to breathe healthy air and we are going to ensure that it becomes a reality."

Secretary Nishida said that Maryland will continue to pursue an action filed earlier this summer with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would force utilities in Midwest and Southeast states to reduce the emissions that affect Maryland and contribute to the state’s serious ozone pollution problem.

The settlement proposal, negotiated at the urging of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, would have reduced nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 1 million tons a year beginning in 2003, a significant step towards reducing ground-level ozone, commonly known as smog. The proposal included a reopener that would have required the Midwest and Southeast states to implement additional pollution controls if their initial efforts were not enough to enable the Northeast to achieve cleaner air.

Maryland has dramatically reduced air pollution over the past several years, including requiring motorists to test and maintain environmentally clean cars, cutting emissions from power plants and other sources, promoting mass transit, and encouraging the development of new clean air technologies.