Pollution controls needed for coal-fired plants [Letter]

September 22, 2014

The Maryland Department of the Environment recently revealed a draft rule that would finally require coal-powered plants in the Baltimore-Washington region to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 48 percent over the next four years ("New coal plant pollution controls eyed," Sept. 13).

Nitrogen oxides contribute heavily to the formation of ground-level ozone (smog) and seriously exacerbate cardiopulmonary health problems such as asthma. Smog is worse when air is still and hot, but 2014 has been relatively cool so there have been fewer "orange alerts" for dangerous air. But Maryland still has some of the worst air on the Eastern seaboard, due largely to coal.

Power plant companies want more time to consider the rule. But for what — so more people can cough and wheeze?

"We're concerned about how aggressively those numbers are ratcheted down. We want to make sure it's doable," said a representative of Raven Power, owner of C.P. Crane, Brandon Shores and Wagner power plants.

The companies claim $200 million per plant would be needed and raise electricity costs. Thank you — I always have wanted a sicker body, and more money in my account to cover it.

Whatever happened to preventive medicine? The only remaining arguments for coal come from its industry, and they are all motivated by profits.

Kevin Kriescher, Baltimore

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