ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 31 — In a major victory against global warming, the Maryland General Assembly gave final approval Friday to the strongest power-plant cleanup bill ever passed by a legislative body in America.
In addition to dramatically reducing nitrogen, sulfur and mercury pollution, the Maryland Healthy Air Act requires that the state join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a consortium of eastern states committed to mandatory CO2 reductions from power plants.
No state in America has Passed Legislation that Reduces all four Power Plant Pollutants in such an Aggressive way.
After a two-year campaign led by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and a coalition of other environmental, faith, and health groups, the so-called 4-pollutant bill passed by veto-proof majorities in both Maryland houses. Aides to Republican governor Robert Ehrlich say the governor does not intend to veto the bill.
"Maryland leaders took a historic step today in acknowledging the crisis of global warming and deciding to do something about it," said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. "While leaders in Washington say carbon reductions are impossible, the capital itself now borders a region stretching from Maryland to Maine where reductions are in fact happening."
The carbon dioxide component of the bill, bitterly opposed by all the Maryland utilities, mandates that the state take all necessary steps to join the RGGI process. Maryland will thus reduce by 10 percent the CO2 emissions from it coal-fired power plants in accordance with the "model rule" established by ME, NY, NH, VT, DE, CT, and NJ. Significantly, Maryland will become only the second "coal" state to join RGGI, i.e. a state producing a majority of its electricity from coal.
No state in America has passed legislation that reduces all four power plant pollutants in such an aggressive way. The House voted 107-27 to approve the act.
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