Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin called the decision by President Barack Obama to withdraw new draft standards on curtailing smog a bad decision for the 140,000 children in Maryland with asthma.
“More than half of the smog that leads to asthma attacks every summer comes from out of state,” Cardin (D) of Pikesville said in an emailed statement. “Some pollution comes from as far away as Indiana and Georgia.”
The Environmental Protection Agency was drafting Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards to give states the same air quality goals.
Now Maryland will continue to suffer from the effects of heavy-polluting states, even though it has some of the “most stringent state clean-air laws and one the cleanest power generation fleets in the country,” Cardin said.
The White House issued a statement saying the new standards would create economic uncertainty at a time when the economy still was struggling.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce hailed the Obama administration’s decision.
“This an enormous victory for America’s job creators, the right decision by the President, and one that will help reduce the uncertainty facing businesses,” the chamber said in an emailed statement. “It’s also a big first step in what needs to be a broader regulatory reform effort.”
But Cardin said the new standards would have created jobs and cited work completed in March 2010 by Constellation Energy on upgrades to its coal-fired power plant near Glen Burnie as an example. The project cost nearly $1 billion and employed more than 2,000 workers for more than 26 months.
Environment Maryland, an advocacy group, also criticized the decision by the Obama administration.
“There’s certainly jobs to be had building the technology to clean up these power plants,” said Environment Maryland spokesman Tommy Landers.
“This is certainly an unfortunate decision for Maryland families and children.”