Chesapeake PSR

Chesapeake PSR and groups file intent to sue EPA over Maryland air pollution

Climate Change and Energy, CoalLydia SullivanComment

On Friday, August 4, Environmental Defense Fund, Chesapeake Physicians for Social Responsibility (Chesapeake PSR) and other groups filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its failure to protect Maryland from air pollution from coal-fired power plants in five upwind states. The groups plan to file a lawsuit against the EPA and administrator Scott Pruitt for not responding to a Maryland “good neighbor” petition to the EPA.

Maryland's petition states 19 separate coal-fired electric power plants in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky are emitting air pollutants that significantly contribute to nonattainment and interfere with maintenance of the 2008 and 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards in Maryland.

On July 20, 2017, Maryland notified EPA that it intended to sue the agency for not responding to its good neighbor petition. Maryland environmental officials have said that as much as 70 percent of the state’s ozone pollution is coming from surrounding states.

“The impacts of ground-level ozone pollution on human health include harm to the respiratory system, aggravation of asthma and lung diseases, and premature death,” said Gwen DuBois, MD, MPH, president of Chesapeake PSR. “Nitrogen oxide is also a component of fine particulate matter and can travel long distances and can cause serious health effects when inhaled."

Interactive maps from Environmental Defense Fund show how much excess pollution is being emitted from the plants' 36 electric generating units (EGU), and illustrates the air quality challenges facing communities and ecosystems in Maryland and throughout the region.

The EPA was required to act on Maryland’s petition no later than July 15, 2017.

Other groups that signed the notice of intent to sue are Environmental Integrity Project, Maryland Environmental Health Network, Chesapeake Climate Action Network, Sierra Club, WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Adirondack Council.

Read our press release on the intent to sue.

• • •