Maryland governor announces new environmental rule; Constellation Energy responds

by John M. Powers
Online/associate editor

Baltimore, MD, Nov. 18, 2005 — On the heels of an announcement by Gov. Ehrlich of Maryland about a new clean power rule, Constellation Energy issued its own statement calling the top pol’s new rule unfairly stringent.

The Maryland Clean Power Rule, announced by the governor at a Bethesda high school, is the most extensive air pollution rule introduced in Maryland’s history, according to a press release from the governor’s office. The rule calls for a power plant emissions reduction of 85%, five years ahead of EPA requirements.

Constellation Energy, a Baltimore-based supplier of electricity to commercial and industrial customers, issued a statement saying the rule “appears to be more stringent than requirements in neighboring states, including those upwind, which produce the majority of air pollution in Maryland.”

The statement went on to say the Maryland plan should “provide the necessary flexibility to allow Maryland power plants to remain cost-effective while the state achieves air quality attainment.” Without such flexibility, said the statement, Maryland residents could see an unnecessary increase in their energy bills.

The main points of the plan are:

* Imposes emission rate limits on Maryland’s six largest coal-fired electric power plants that contribute to ozone, particle, regional haze, and acid rain pollution;

* Reduces mercury emissions from Maryland’s six largest coal-fired electric power plants;

* Requires Maryland power plants to meet state emission rate limits by adding local pollution controls rather than buying out-of-state emissions allowances (trading credits).

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