Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, responded with the following remarks to the Supreme Court of the United States decision that upheld the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to protect states from air pollution that crosses state lines.
“I applaud the strong decision by the Supreme Court that reaffirms the EPA’s role in protecting our children from cross-state air pollution. It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that air pollution doesn’t stop at a state borderline. Maryland, despite having some of the strictest clean air rules in the country, continues to suffer from dirty air – and the resulting harm to public health – because of pollution from other states,” said Senator Cardin. “It’s time for the excuses to end when it comes to polluters cleaning up their act. Maryland’s Healthy Air Act helped create thousands of jobs in the process of reducing in-state pollution.”
Maryland is located on the front line of the Ozone Transport Region. Constant vehicle traffic along the Northeast Corridor, combined with air emissions from power plants and industrial facilities located throughout the Midwest and Southern regions of the U.S., carried on prevailing westerly winds, pollute the air of downwind states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
On most bad air days, somewhere between 50% and 75% of Maryland’s air pollution originates in an upwind state.
More than 2 million Marylanders suffer from respiratory and cardio vascular diseases like asthma, emphysema, and diabetes, according to the American Lung Association. Unhealthy air days exacerbate health problems of at-risk populations and cost Americans billions of dollars in health care costs and lost wages due to illnesses, triggered by bad air, that lead to absences from work and school.