News Feature | August 30, 2018

Maryland Breaks With Trump On Water Pollution

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Maryland is pushing for stricter water pollution regulations despite that this move puts the state at odds with the Trump administration.

“Maryland will start requiring three coal-fired power plants to scrub toxic metals such as mercury and arsenic from water discharged into the Potomac and Patuxent rivers, the latest example of Republican Governor Larry Hogan putting distance between his state and Trump administration policies,” The Washington Post reported.

“Permits issued late last month for the three of the state’s seven coal-fired plants say that, starting in 2020, those plants will have to adhere to Obama-era environmental rules, not the laxer requirements endorsed by the current occupant of the White House,” the report stated.

Democrats and environmental advocates pushed Maryland to adhere to the tougher regulations, the report stated. Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles stated that it is normal for environmental regulators to shift state policies to account for public input, according to The Washington Post.

Coal-fired power plants are a hot issue this month, since the Trump administration proposed a new set of rules providing states more control of how much pollution can be emitted from these plants, according to The Baltimore Sun.

“The administration’s announcement fulfills a pledge Trump made almost a year ago to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan, when former U.S. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt declared that ‘the war on coal is over,’” the report stated.

Maryland is not alone in breaking with the Trump administration on coal policies.

“Often lost in the bitter debate about climate change and Obama’s regulatory agenda is that many states have been weaning themselves from coal for years, prompted by a glut of cleaner-burning, less-expensive natural gas and steadily falling costs for pollution-free wind and solar energy,” The Chicago Tribune reported.

Illinois, Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee all met or exceeded the Obama plan’s target for decreased carbon dioxide emissions, The Tribune stated.