Maryland Proposes to Reject Effort to Delay Pollution Reductions

Three Coal-Fired Plants Affected, Must Meet Better Standard to Protect the Public

Washington, D.C. – April 2 – Potomac Riverkeeper Dean Naujoks today announced that Maryland’s Department of the Environment (MDE) has proposed to reject efforts by GenOn Energy, the operator of three coal-fired plants in the state, to delay water pollution safeguards at three coal-fired plants operated by the company in Maryland.

“These plants, located in Charles, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, were required to obtain updated water pollution permits and Potomac Riverkeeper Network (PRKN) successfully sought to have MDE put in place mandatory pollution control measures to reduce discharges of toxic metals by November 1, 2020 into Maryland’s waters, including the Potomac River. These metals include mercury and arsenic, both of which are extremely toxic to humans and pose a serious threat to public health. Other metals, including selenium, and nutrient pollution are especially harmful to the aquatic life of the Chesapeake Bay and Maryland communities.

After the updated permits were issued by MDE, GenOn sued to block implementation of the updated toxic pollution requirements in its permits and when that effort failed, GenOn sought permit revisions to continue polluting.

Leah Kelly, Senior Attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, which represented PRKN, said, “The EPA issued these new pollution limits in 2015 after a delay of over 30 years. Instead of investing in control technology to bring its plants into compliance, GenOn Energy has spent its resources filing unsuccessful appeals in court and otherwise trying to avoid its obligation to reduce its pollution. MDE is doing the right thing here and we applaud their proposed decisions.”

Phillip Musegaas, PRKN Vice President for Programs and Litigation, said “We commend Maryland regulators for taking a stand against corporate polluters’ self-interest and fighting for the rights of all Marylanders to have clean water in their rivers, free of toxic chemicals from coal-fired power plants. These eminently reasonable and achievable standards will lead to healthier rivers and communities freed from the threat of coal industry pollution in their backyards and drinking water.”

The proposed denials and other permit information are available for download on the MDE website by visiting their Search Portal, searching by permit number, clicking “More Info” next to the desired permit and selecting the document to download.

Chalk Point Generating Station – State # 14DP0627A (NPDES #MD0002658)
Dickerson Generating Station – State #14DP0048A (NPDES #MD0002640)
Morgantown Generating Station – State #14DP0841A (NPDES #MD0002674