The use of coal to generate electricity has been on the decline in Maryland.
Gov. Martin O'Malley says an Obama administration plan for reducing pollutants blamed for global warming is in line with steps Maryland has already taken.
In a statement, the Democratic governor applauded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal Monday for cutting power plant carbon dioxide emissions by nearly a third over the next 15 years:
“Climate change is transforming the world in profound ways that continue to evolve. We still have time to become great ancestors, and we have a moral obligation to our children and our grandchildren to act now while we can make a difference.
“I congratulate and thank President Obama for his bold leadership. Today’s announcement is the first federal regulatory action to set carbon pollution standards for existing fossil fuel-fired power plants, the largest single source of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“Maryland is among the nation’s most vulnerable states to the effects of sea level rise from climate change, and we are taking strong action to reduce carbon pollution. Three of our16 strategic goals bear on this directly, our goals:to reduce Maryland’s greenhouse gas emissions 25% by 2020; to increase Maryland’s in-state renewable generation to 20% by 2022; and to reduce energy consumption in Maryland 15% by 2015.
“Maryland regulates carbon emissions from power plants through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a partnership with eight other East Coast states. RGGI is a key component of Maryland’s Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and we are pleased to see the federal proposal recognize the value of a regional approach.
“We are already witnessing a transformation in the U.S. economy to increased production of lower carbon energy through fuel switching to natural gas and expansion of wind, solar, geothermal, and other renewable non-carbon intensive energy sources. The President’s proposal will: (1) help us continue to expand our use of renewable sources of energy and reduce harmful air pollution responsible for increased risk of heart and lung disease; (2) give us greater energy security; (3) make important strides in improving public health; and (4) unleash the power of our innovative green economy.
“We must preserve our planet and grow our economy simultaneously. We cannot become more prosperous without the living systems upon which our prosperity depends.”
Carbon emissions nationally would be reduced 30 percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. A regional approach taken by Maryland and eight Northeastern states has already reduced their total carbon emissions by 40 percent since 2005. The EPA rule would give those states credit for taking early action.
The Maryland Coal Association says the federal government wants to eliminate coal as an energy source. Coal-burning power plants produce higher carbon dioxide emissions than natural-gas-fired plants.