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Maryland Department of the Environment

Governor O’Malley Releases Statement on Supreme Court Decision Upholding Major Rule to Address Air Pollution

April 29th, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Governor Martin O’Malley released the following statement on today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which addresses air pollution from power plants that contributes to unhealthy air in Maryland and other downwind states:

“By making better choices, we have significantly reduced air pollution generated within Maryland’s borders. Now, the air pollution that blows into Maryland from states upwind of us must be cut to protect the health of our citizens. Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule is a critical step forward in achieving this important goal.

In Maryland, we have implemented strong programs such as the Healthy Air Act and the Clean Cars Program. Our efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to Climate Change will also help improve our air quality. However, as much as 70 percent of the ozone air pollution in Maryland comes from upwind states – and ozone transported into the State has been measured at levels that already violate health-based standards. The science clearly demonstrates that Maryland cannot fully meet the air quality standards that protect public health unless air pollution generated outside of our State’s borders is controlled.

The 2012 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacating the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was disappointing, as it dealt a significant blow to our ongoing efforts to improve the quality of our air in Maryland. Maryland and other downwind states were parties in support of EPA in the case in both the lower court and in the Supreme Court. Maryland is also among a group of Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that petitioned EPA to require upwind states to reduce emissions that contribute to the formation of ozone in Maryland and other downwind states.

It is time for the upwind states to do the right thing. We look forward to working with them – and to a future with cleaner, healthier air.”