Maryland and seven other northeast and mid-Atlantic states today petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require upwind states to reduce air pollution generated within their borders, which health and environmental officials said causes asthma, respiratory disease, and other public health problems downwind.
The action is aimed at requiring nine states – Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia – to reduce air pollution emissions that are carried by prevailing winds and contribute to the formation of ozone to the north and east.
The petition cites decades of inaction by the upwind states during which time the eight mid-Atlantic and northeastern states have spent tens of billions of dollars to reduce their own air emissions.
"By making better choices we have significantly reduced air pollution generated within Maryland's borders. Now, the air pollution that blows into Maryland from states upwind of us must be cut to protect the health of our citizens," said Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. "The filing of this petition is a crucial step in addressing this problem. It is time for the upwind states to do the right thing. We look forward to working with them, and to a future with cleaner, healthier air."
Maryland is joined in signing the petition with Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.