Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

December 15, 2013

Clean air

Maryland would like to get us some more of it

Anyone who’s lived downwind of a pig or poultry farm — or a neighbor who’s not particular about what he burns in his fireplace or wood stove — can appreciate the situation in which Maryland finds itself. It lives downwind of other states whose air pollution is fouling what Maryland and its citizens breathe.

Maryland and some other states have petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to enforce laws that are already on the books and require states that lie upwind to reduce the pollution generated within their borders.

Call it our version of not wanting to inhale someone else’s second-hand tobacco smoke.

It’s a reasonable request, considering the fortunes that Maryland and the other petitioners — Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont — have spent cleaning up their own messes, while the alleged offenders have spent relatively little.

Although Maryland power plants have invested $2.6 billion in technology that will comply with the Maryland Healthy Air Act, it still suffers from ground-level ozone levels that violate EPA standards. What’s the source of this excess ozone? Not Maryland.

Petitioners want the EPA to add the offending upwind polluters to what’s known as the Ozone Transport Region, which would require them to take actions that are consistent with those already taken by the states unfortunate enough to lie downwind of them.

Who are the offenders? The petition names Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Some of these aren’t exactly next-door neighbors. However, prevailing winds and air currents pay no more heed to the borders between states than the fragrances generated by pig and poultry farms and smelly wood stoves are mindful of the average fence.

It is said that good fences make for good neighbors. There are times when good fences aren’t enough.

Air pollution can cause asthma, respiratory disease and other problems. Let’s give credit to Maryland’s officials for trying to improve our collective health by taking steps to make other states do something they should have done a long time ago — clean up their own messes.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014