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Friday, April 07, 2006

Maryland Legislature Passes Healthy Air Act

The Healthy Air Act ( HB 189 / SB 154) requires that emissions of four main pollutants 1) mercury, 2) carbon, 3) nitrogen, and 4) sulfur be reduced at the seven dirtiest coal-burning plants in Maryland. Nitrogen oxide will be capped at 20,216 tons a year by 2009. Sulfur dioxide levels will be limited to 48,618 tons a year by 2010. And mercury emissions are to be reduced 80 percent by 2010. AAEA president Norris McDonald, right, provided testimony in support of the legislation before Maryland House & Senate Committees. (4P Bill House 4P Bill Senate)
Gov Ehrlich, above, signed the bill into law on April 6, 2006.

The Healthy Air Act requires carbon dioxide reductions by having Maryland join a multistate program called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI sets goals for states to reduce carbon dioxide. Companies will be able to sell or trade their carbon dioxide allowances. Maryland is an "observer" of RGGI, participating in policy discussions, but not agreeing to make reductions. The law allows the state to withdraw from the regional consortium after January 1, 2009 if reliability and cost issues become a problem.

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