Don't subsidize polluting coal plants

Why pay Maryland power plant owners with other people's health and money?

Gov. Larry Hogan's backtracking on improving air quality for Marylanders means more unnecessary suffering and premature death for citizens and taxpayers through continued corporate welfare for coal plants ("Hogan issues new smog-fighting rule with 'flexibility' for coal plants," April 18).

Utilities burning coal should either prevent or pay for the health impacts they create, especially here in Maryland where air quality is the worst on the East Coast. Instead, they will continue to be allowed to injure citizens' health through air pollution and taxpayers through millions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs paid by public insurance plans such as Medicare and Medicaid. Power plant owner NRG playing the "jobs card" is rather disingenuous since they will cut jobs for their shareholders' interests whenever they see fit without shedding a tear.

If jobs are affected, the state could work to assist those impacted but to supposedly protect those jobs at the continued expense of the citizenry is an unacceptably expensive subsidy. The smog rules the governor is undermining (despite years of effort and the agreement of Raven Power) would only begin to shrink the public subsidies. Apparently, the interests of energy giant NRG come before the health and tax dollars of Marylanders.

Charlie Skinner, Towson

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