UPDATE: On Oct. 6, the Maryland Air Quality Control Advisory Council approved new strong smog standards for coal plants. “By requiring that all of Maryland’s poorly-controlled coal-fired power plants retrofit to include the best pollution control technology, repower or retire, these proposed new safeguards are poised to finally help all Marylanders breathe a little easier,” said Josh Tulkin, director of the Maryland Sierra Club. “There are still steps to go to finalize these critical safeguards, and we believe they should be implemented much sooner than 2020, but this is a great leap forward.”

mhittbwMore than 85 percent of Maryland’s residents live in areas where the air is unsafe to breathe. That’s a huge number! Maryland lags far behind other Eastern states in its use of state-of-the-art pollution controls for smog-forming pollutants from power plants, trailing even coal-heavy states like Alabama, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Believe it or not, the state is home to some of the worst air quality on the East Coast. The good news is that the state has proposed new protections for this deadly pollution, but we need help from people across the state to get these safeguards over the finish line.

September 21st marked a true milestone in the history of the climate movement. Over 400,000 people gathered in New York City under different banners but with the same singular ask of our local, national, and global leaders: Act On Climate.

Yesterday, numerous concerned citizens and partner organizations attended and testified at a meeting of the Air Quality Control Advisory Council (AQCAC), where the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) submitted its most recent draft limits on smog-forming emissions from Maryland’s coal-fired power plants for review by the council. The AQCAC is a citizen's advisory board that can effectively approve or deny air-related regulations proposed by MDE. We need them to approve the new coal plant regulations with expediency or they could be weakened under industry pressure by more delays.

The Sierra Club has organized 8 buses across Maryland that are going to the People's Climate March in NYC on September 21st, and we want you to join us.

The Maryland Beyond Coal Team is coming up on a critical moment in our campaign to retire Maryland's dirtiest coal-fired power plants, and we need help more than ever to protect the health of Marylanders.
After months of stalling, the Maryland Department of the Environment is finally ready to propose emissions limits that could force every coal plant in the state to install state-of-the-art pollution-cutting equipment -- an expense that is likely to push the plants toward retirement. Of course, it looks like the limits might be much weaker than is necessary to make any substantial difference. That's why we need to keep pushing back and calling for the health protections Marylanders need.

Get a first-hand look at coal and learn what we can do to move Maryland to clean energy -- RSVP today!

On Saturday July 26th, come see coal up close!

Have you ever seen a coal-fired power plant in person? I was shocked by the size and scale of the first coal plant I visited, with its massive boilers and several immense smokestacks, each billowing gray plumes that pollute the air we breathe.

The dense, dark plumes that spew from coal plants are only one kind of the pollution emitted: the visible kind. What goes unseen, but what is still very much present, is all of the invisible, but just as dangerous pollutants, that spill unhindered and unseen from the same smokestacks. 

This pollution contributes to 85% of Marylanders living in areas with unsafe air, ranking our state as having the worst air quality on the East Coast. The good news is that you can help do something about it. 

Join other Marylanders July 26 for an easy hike along the C&O Canal Towpath, see the Dickerson coal plant in person, and learn about the Sierra Club’s campaign to clean up Maryland’s dirty coal. 


Update to Energy Committee (list servs) on our priorities

On Wednesday, a group of Maryland politicians took a stand on the state’s unacceptable levels of air pollution by sending a letter voicing their support for stronger pollution controls on Maryland’s coal-fired power plants.

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) has drafted stronger pollution controls to cut down on the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides emitted by the state’s coal plants; both of these pollutants contribute to smog-filled air that is classified as unsafe to breathe by the EPA1, and approximately 86 percent of Maryland residents are exposed to this dirty air every day.

It is hoped that the support of 10 state senators, 33 state delegates, and several council members from Anne Arundel, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties will encourage Governor Martin O’Malley to support the MDE’s stronger pollution controls and stand firm against opposition from coal industry lobbyists and their legislative backers.

[picture - District 39 Delegate Shane Robinson Signed The Letter to O'Malley]

The Maryland chapter of the Sierra Club joined 18 other local, state, regional, and national groups in Baltimore on Wednesday to hand-deliver over 40,000 printed comments urging the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject Dominion Cove Point’s application for a crucial permit.

As part of its proposal to convert the existing Cove Point natural gas import terminal, located on the Chesapeake Bay, into an export terminal, Dominion is seeking permission to build a 130-megawatt gas-fired power plant at the site. This plant would provide the power needed to cool the natural gas to 260 degrees below zero, converting it into a liquid that would then be put into tankers to be carried to India and Japan.