Press Release

September 2, 2011

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, responded quickly to the announcement that President Obama asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw the draft Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards:

“Today’s decision to withdraw the proposed ozone standard is bad for the health of the 140,000 Maryland children who have asthma and is based on bad economics. More than half of the smog that leads to asthma attacks every summer comes from out of state.  Some pollution comes from as far away as Indiana and Georgia. 

“Maryland has some of the most stringent state clean-air laws and one the cleanest power generation fleets in the country. Yet last year, 12 out of 15 counties had 55 days or more where ground-level ozone levels were at code orange or code red levels.  Good science – not to mention medical records – tells us that current standards are not protecting the health of our residents. 

“I believe the Administration is wrong to conclude that withdrawing the proposed standards is needed to avoid regulatory uncertainty ‘in this economically challenging time.’  In March 2010, Constellation Energy completed upgrades at its coal fired power plant near Glen Burnie, MD. This three-year project required a $1 billion investment that generated nearly four million man-hours of labor from the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council workers.  This included 26 months of work for 2,000 skilled construction workers. This plant is now one of the cleanest coal-burning power plants in the country. Keeping our air clean and our children safe from pollution is creating jobs now.  

“Maryland is doing its part to protect public health from harmful air pollution and has demonstrated that it is possible to do so while stimulating the economy and maintaining affordable and reliable energy. The Administration is wrong not to require our upwind neighbors do the same immediately.”