Pollution controls on power plants will let us all breathe easier [Letter]

It is time to plug the loopholes for coal-fired power plants in Maryland ("New coal plant pollution controls eyed," Sept. 13).

A report by the Maryland Department of the Environment found that many of the coal fired power plants in Maryland had not used their pollution controls continuously. If the Brandon Shores and Wagner plants had used their controls continuously in 2012, they could have cut nitrous oxide emissions by 2,000 tons.

So what's the problem with nitrous oxide? Think smog, ozone, asthma, strokes, heart attacks and low birthweight babies. Think Code Orange and Code Red days when it's not safe to breathe the air. Think of children struggling to breathe as their parents rush them to the emergency room.

By the time children today reach high school, one out of four will have been diagnosed with asthma, a leading cause of absences from school.

Requiring plants to lower emissions will make a big difference in the quality of the air and in the quality of our lives. Citizens should urge the Maryland Department of the Environment to adopt strong new regulations that can help us breathe easier.

Shan Gordon, Baltimore

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