Will Cut Air Pollution, Join Northeast States to Cut Global Warming Emissions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (April 6, 2006) -- Today Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich signed into law a bill that will cut air pollution and join Maryland in an effort by governors across the Northeast to cut global warming emissions.

The Maryland Healthy Air Act will cap emissions of the four major pollutants, including mercury, from coal-fired power plants.

It also calls for the state to join the regional pact among Northeast governors by June 30, 2007. That program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, will cut global warming emissions by 10 percent by 2019. Maryland will be the eighth state to join the initiative.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Paul Pinsky and Del. Jim Hubbard with 97 co-sponsors in the House and Senate. The Healthy Air Act was endorsed by Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Montgomery County Council Executive Doug Duncan, as well as dozens of state and national organizations.

Below is the statement of Dale Bryk, Senior Attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council:

"This new law is going to mean cleaner, more efficient energy technology for the people of Maryland, and a chance to do our share cleaning up heat-trapping pollution.

"It puts the state in the forefront of a growing effort by governors from both political parties to tackle the global warming problem while we still have time to fix it. These regional initiatives are also going to provide an essential model for national solutions.

"Between now and 2008 you're going to see Republicans and Democrats alike staking out new ground on this issue. It's anybody's guess at this point who is going to deliver the answers fastest.

"But what we do know is that there's no time to waste. We have the know-how to beat this challenge; what we need is the leadership to make it happen."