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Baltimore has an enormous problem with asthma, yet Gov. Larry Hogan is attempting to block, delay and weaken regulations limiting toxic emissions from Maryland's seven dirtiest coal-fired power plants ("Hogan moves quickly to block controversial environmental regulations," Jan. 21).

This is a really important public health issue. Hundreds of people in Baltimore alone die prematurely each year because of toxic air pollutants.

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As a professor of biology, I was absolutely floored at the air quality figures for Maryland in general and for Baltimore in particular. Last year I testified when the Maryland Department of the Environment held public hearings about the new EPA-mandated regulation that would have controlled emissions from the oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants.

The regulation, which enjoyed broad support from stakeholders after 15 months of analysis and negotiation by MDE, was all but done when Mr. Hogan pulled it on his first day in office. Now it is stalled and will almost certainly be weakened after intensive lobbying by one power company, NRG Energy.

As a result, implementation could be delayed by years (another energy company, Raven Power, supports the regulations). Marylanders should be aware of this unacceptable action by the new governor.

Sara Via, Ellicott City

The writer is a professor of biology and entomology at the University of Maryland College Park.

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