Time is running out!

Submit an official comment in support of MDE's plan to cut back coal pollution in Maryland.

The deadline for comments is January 7
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Time is running out to clean the air in Maryland!

Last week, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) opened a 30-day public comment period on a new rule that would require all of Maryland’s coal plants to install state-of-the-art pollution-cutting technology, stop using coal for fuel, or retire. 

The new standard is exactly what we need to protect the health of our families and an important step in becoming a clean energy state. This is your last chance to tell MDE to finalize these rules now. Any delay puts the rules at risk to be weakened -- and we need these safeguards to be in place for next summer's smog season.

Submit an official comment today in support of MDE's new standard to cut back coal pollution -- it's urgent we deliver as many comments as possible to make sure MDE finalizes this new standard at the earliest possible date.

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Being energy-efficient at home is one of the easiest ways to protect the environment.  You can do this, and save energy and money off your electric bill by using a programmable thermostat. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, you can get one at no charge from Pepco and Delmarva Power. Here are a few tips on how to use your programmable thermostat, and an idea for how to save even more energy through the Energy Wise RewardsTM program offered by Pepco and Delmarva Power. 

Today the Maryland Fracking Commission issued the Final Report of the Marcellus Shale Safe Drilling Commission. Among the expected recommendations included in the report are: 
Requirement of zero methane leakage from wells, limiting damaging climate pollution.
Requirement of the completion of Comprehensive Gas Development Plan (CGDP), and two years monitoring in the area of the proposed drilling site, before full scale drilling commences.  
Disclosure of chemicals used for drilling to MDE and to members of the health professionals who need the information to diagnose or treat a patient.

Polluted runoff is a major problem in our communities.  It occurs after a rainstorm, when rainwater runs over dirty roads and parking lots and surges into our rivers and streams, and our homes.  Contaminated with a deadly mixture of dangerous chemicals and substances, including car oil, weed killer, sewage and pet waste, polluted runoff doesn’t just degrade our rivers and streams.  It also floods our roads, homes, and businesses, poisons our seafood, and makes fishing and swimming dangerous or impossible because of the risks to human health and safety.

We have solutions.  Neighborhood greening projects have the power to revitalize our communities by: restoring habitat, cleaning our rivers and streams, enhancing community resilience in the face of climate change, and creating green jobs.


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Stacy Bare

By Stacy Bare, Sierra Club Outdoors Director

On Veterans Day -- and for several days leading up to and after Veterans Day -- we celebrate those women and men who have served their country in uniform. We're lucky at the Sierra Club to have a high percentage among our members and activists. Based on available demographic data, we estimate that 10 percent of the Club's overall 2.4 million members and supporters are veterans. By contrast, only 5 percent of all Americans have served in the Armed Forces. For me as a veteran, it's pretty special to be in a place where more than double the percentage of the general population chooses to continue serving their country.

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Annapolis City Dock during a King Tide. Life-size tatues at the dock are up to their knees in water.

Annapolis City Dock at King Tide - see below for photo source. (i)


As the environmental community prepares for this weekend’s release of the final piece of the 5th Assessment Report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), many people will be focusing on the big international agreements needed to address our climate crisis. And while I could spend hours and hours digging into the importance of international agreements on climate change, I often find myself asking the questions of “What is happening in my own backyard? What can I do right here, right now to show my community is ready and willing to tackle this challenge?”

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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.

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