Mary­lan­ders want a stronger RGGI

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Kevin Kri­escher, Bal­ti­more

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.

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