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Md. must do even more on air pollution

Maryland has an opportunity to be a leader on air pollution and climate change.

Cheers to the Maryland Commission on Climate Change for voting unanimously to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent (relative to 2006) by 2030. Diversity among the 26 commission members (scientists, Hogan administration officials, environmentalists, representatives of business/labor) is very encouraging. Republicans often refrain from backing environmental limits until the limits are more concomitant with economic/job growth, so perhaps the ways in which renewable industries drive our economy are finally being realized. But this goal must still be made legislation when the current law comes up for review next year.

This check must also be cashed on a more regional scale. When Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles and Public Service Commission Chairman Kevin Hughes go to New York on Nov. 17 for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative meeting, I hope they keep some things in mind: pioneering pollution reduction is a positive step wherever and in whatever form it hits the ground, but air is shared, and a larger region can frustrate or nurture achievement of localized goals. Make sure that upcoming RGGI standards reflect Maryland's current goals in order to ensure that our reductions are reflected in our migratory air to the greatest extent possible and to lead other states in the process of raising the bar.

This is a very realistic goal — RGGI states have a record of leading the country in emissions reductions across the entire economy. For example, New York's goal is similar to Maryland's with a critical addendum: 50 percent of energy must be renewable by 2030. Massachusetts deserves applause for becoming the first state to put coal behind them! Finally, RGGI must adapt to President Barack Obama's clean power plan, standards for which are likely to become more stringent.

Kevin Kriescher, Baltimore

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