Marylanders want a stronger RGGI
Why do Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles and Gov. Larry Hogan continue to feed their constituents statements that, if not outright untrue, are hard to justify? (“Maryland’s RGGI choice,” Sept. 8.) They fear that doubling the yearly rate of pollution-cap reduction for power generators will be more costly to ratepayers. The truth: RGGIhas done nothing but save loads of money for both residents and businesses. It has created programs for payment assistance; it has dramatically improved grid efficiency, saving money for power plants and for customers. It has reduced pollution in the process, bringing a much appreciated reduction in medical bills.
Many Marylanders have stated that they would choose better air in Maryland even if they had to pay more for it. But with RGGI they don’t — so where’s the issue? In upwind states that are not part of RGGI (Pennsylvania, Ohio, etc.) coal plants are able to pollute more. Mr. Hogan fears that despite RGGI limits established within Maryland, the pollution we inhale may not decline as much as hoped. Suppose his fears come true. We would still reap the financial benefits of improved energy efficiency brought about by RGGI. And don’t forget, pollution on a global scale is reduced as long as RGGI states (nine at the moment) are curtailing their emissions.
Messrs. Hogan and Grumbles claim they want Maryland to be an environmental leader, but their foot-dragging reflects a much more provincial and disappointing response. To be a leader, one must be willing to take the first step! A true leader is willing to brave risks that are dramatically overshadowed by changes we must make now. Besides, backing out of RGGI is no way to increase the total number of committed states, a goal identified by Mr. Grumbles. The vast majority of Marylanders want membership in the improved version of RGGI until 2030.