EPA Directs State of Maryland to Tighten Emission Limits and Monitoring for Baltimore Area Incinerator, Contributor to Chesapeake Bay Pollution

Federal Agency Finds that State Did Not Respond to Environmental Groups’ Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C.//April 19, 2010//The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruled Friday that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) acted improperly when it issued a Clean Air Act permit that relaxed short-term emission limits for the Wheelabrator incinerator in Baltimore, and failed to show that emissions of mercury and other pollutants would be accurately measured. The EPA action came about as a result of a petition filed with the federal regulator by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Clean Water Action (CWA), and Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) after the MDE ignored the groups’ concerns.

Highly visible alongside the western I-95 approach to Baltimore, the Wheelabrator incinerator is a major source of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions, which contribute to smog and Chesapeake Bay pollution. When MDE proposed renewing the Clean Air Act operating permit for the facility, EIP, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, and Clean Water Action submitted comments opposing increases in NOx emission limits, and asking for better monitoring of emissions of mercury, lead, particulate matter, dioxins, and hydrogen chloride as required by the Clean Air Act. When the state failed to revise the permit, the groups asked EPA to object, which the federal agency has a right to do under the Clean Air Act.

For the news release, click here.

For the EPA Order, click here.

For the Petition, click here.

For a Baltimore Sun article discussing the impact of EPA’s finding, click here.