As Maryland pursues climate solutions, power plants are nation’s biggest polluters

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Environment Maryland

Baltimore, MD – As the one year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy nears, a new report from Environment Maryland Research & Policy Center sheds light on the largest contributors to global warming pollution– power plants. Scientists predict that global warming will lead to even more frequent and severe extreme weather events like Sandy unless we act.

“America’s dirtiest power plants are the elephant in the room when it comes to global warming,” said Talya Tavor, Environment Maryland’s Field Associate. “Nearly a year has passed since the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, and we can’t afford to ignore power plants’ overwhelming contribution to global warming. For America, tackling the problem means cleaning up the dirtiest power plants.”

The report, titled America’s Dirtiest Power Plants comes as the Obama administration readies a new set of rules to tackle global warming. It illustrates the scale of carbon pollution from Maryland’s power sector and ranks Maryland’s biggest carbon polluters.

Key findings from the report include:

  • America’s power plants are its single largest source of carbon pollution, responsible for 40 percent of emissions nationwide.
  • In Maryland, the top five most polluting power plants are Brandon Shores, Morgantown Generating Plant, Chalk, Herbert A Wagner, and Dickerson Generating Station.
  • The most carbon-polluting power plant in the nation – Georgia Power Company’s Plant Scherer – emits as much carbon pollution as 4.4 million cars.
  • Overall, Maryland power plants produce as much carbon each year as 5,200,000 cars.

This summer, President Obama directed his Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to propose limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the largest single source of carbon pollution. In a major step, EPA is expected to propose an updated rule for cutting carbon pollution from new power plants on September 20. 51,130 have already submitted public comments in support of limiting carbon pollution from power plants.

“Here in Maryland, extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy are already taking a heavy toll on our community,” said Council Member Cole. “To ensure the health and safety of all Marylanders and future generations, we need to tackle global warming now.”

Maryland is one of nine states in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a historic plan to cap carbon pollution from power plants in the northeast. Already, RGGI has generated to over $1 billion for investment in energy efficiency. Now, Maryland leaders are working to adopt stronger rules that will reduce carbon emissions 20 percent.


Environment Maryland Research and Policy Center is a 501(c)(3) organization. We are dedicated to protecting our air, water and open spaces.