- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last week rejected a request by Maryland and other states, to broaden the roster of states responsible for helping address cross-state pollution, the Baltimore Sun reports.
- The state's environmental agency estimates that 70% of Maryland's smog is generated by sources outside its borders. There are dozens of coal plants in nearby states contributing to the issue, state officials say.
- The Baltimore Sun reports the EPA acknowledged the cross-state pollution issue, but said there are "more effective mechanisms" to find a solution. Maryland had requested several southern states be added to the Ozone Transport Region.
The EPA's ruling was a setback for Maryland, but officials say they will continue to seek relief. Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles said the state "will continue to insist on more environmental progress by our upwind partner states."
In November, environmental officials from the state asked the EPA to force 19 Midwest coal plants to use pollution control technology already installed at the facilities. And Maryland asked for quick action, as well: before summer demand ramps up and three dozen coal units in are online and weather will exacerbate ozone impacts.
The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule was originally proposed in 2011 by the Obama administration. The EPA originally proposed stronger rules, but a D.C. Circuit Court judge rejected them in 2015.The rule is intended to help address the interstate transport of ozone and other pollutants typically covered by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards within individual states.
Offending states Maryland wanted to see added to the OTR, which address smog in warmer months, include Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, West Virginia. According to the Sun, a portion of Virginia would have been included as well.
In September, EPA issued federal implementation plans that provide summertime budgets for NOx emissions in 22 states. The plans apply only to states that failed to submit state plans under the 2008 update to the CSAPR.