December 07, 2016
Wagner needs monitoring
The US Environmental Protection Agency designated North Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, and parts of Baltimore County as being in a sulphur dioxide non-attainment zone in July of this year. Emissions from the local Herbert A. Wagner coal fired plant are blamed, and it is apparently one of the dirtiest plants in the region, emitting dangerous levels of sulphur dioxide and other pollutants. On high-demand days the levels far exceed safe limits.
In October 2016 the Greater Pasadena Council sent letters to both the EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment requesting these agencies include in next year's budget an appropriation of approximately $200,000 for the acquisition, installation, and maintenance and operation of air-quality monitoring equipment near the power plants to assess with real data (not modeled data) the level of pollution.
EPA immediately responded, telling the council that the state is encouraged to request EPA grant funding to establish monitoring stations near to the Wagner Plant. MDE Secretary Ben Grumbles responded, saying that his office is seeking federal funds to install this monitor and, alternatively, has asked Raven Power, which operates the Wagner plant, to "consider installing a monitor."
The Greater Pasadena Council Believes Secretary Grumbles' lack of direct commitment to fund a monitoring station in this year's budget will result in a significant delay in installing monitoring equipment. There is no action short of funding monitoring immediately that makes sense, and the amount of funds necessary to install a monitoring station is insignificant.
Allan Straughan and John R. Leopold, Pasadena
The writers are, respectively, board chairman, and environmental committee chairman of the Greater Pasadena Council.