Maryland plans to appeal EPA denial of petition involving Indiana plants

Maryland will appeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to deny the state's efforts to reduce emissions from 36 power plants in Indiana and four other upwind states, Maryland's attorney general said Monday.

The EPA signed a final agency decision denying Maryland's petition for relief under the Clean Air Act late Friday.

"We intend to appeal EPA's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, so that Marylanders do not have to continue suffering the consequences of other states' pollution," Frosh said.

Maryland contends the power plants are violating the "good neighbor" provision of the Clean Air Act. The power plants are in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The EPA also denied four petitions from Delaware relating to emissions from out-of-state plants.

The Maryland petition was filed in December 2016. It asked EPA to require the coal-fired facilities to run pollution-control equipment that is already installed to reduce emissions of ozone-forming nitrogen dioxide.

The EPA concluded neither state met the burden to demonstrate that the sources they named emit or would emit ozone forming pollutants at levels that violate the Clean Air Act's good neighbor provision for the 2008 and 2015 ozone standards. The agency proposed to deny the petitions in May, and has considered public comments on that proposal before issuing its final decision.

"Consistent with the EPA's proposal and based on the best data available to the agency at this time, the agency is finalizing its denial of these petitions," the EPA said in its decision.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation criticized the EPA decision. CBF said the emissions contribute to nitrogen problems in the nation's largest estuary that fuel harmful algal blooms and create dead zones in the water.

"This is yet another example of EPA putting big business above human health and the environment," said Jon Mueller, vice president of litigation for CBF. "The agency is making it more difficult to achieve Bay clean-up goals by failing to limit interstate air pollution."

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