BALTIMORE, MD (January 23, 2007) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is proud to announce that emergency regulations implementing the Maryland Healthy Air Act were approved by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee of Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR).
The MDE submitted revised emergency regulations to AELR on December 26th, 2006. Over the course of the past several months, MDE has hosted regulatory language discussions with both the affected emission sources and the environmental community. Consensus was reached on the regulatory language on December 15th, 2006 and Maryland’s Air Quality Control Advisory Committee (AQCAC) approved the emergency regulations on December 22, 2006.
The Maryland Healthy Air Act is a groundbreaking four-pollutant law that significantly reduces both ozone and fine particle related emissions from Maryland’s seven largest coal-fired power plants owned by Allegheny Energy Group, Constellation Energy Group, and Mirant Corporation. The law and subsequent regulations will reduce Nitrogen Oxides by 70% in 2009 and 75% in 2012, Sulfur Dioxides by 80% in 2010 and 85% in 2013, and Mercury emissions by 80% in 2010 and 90% in 2013. The Healthy Air Act also requires Maryland to become a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) which was established to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
“This is by far the most important air quality regulation ever developed by MDE,” said George (Tad) Aburn, Director, Air and Radiation Management Administration “These regulations constitute the most sweeping air pollution emission reduction measure in Maryland history.”
The emergency regulations are intended to get the requirements of the Healthy Air Act in place quickly, but will have to be replaced by permanent regulations within six months. MDE has already begun the process of establishing the permanent regulations.
For more information, go to: mde.maryland.gov/Air/Md_CPR.asp or call MDE’s Air and Radiation Management Administration at 410-537-3245.