Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Hogan Balks at Greenhouse Madness

Maryland officials are resisting a push to deepen carbon-emission cuts as part of a regional agreement to reduce power-plant pollution.

The nine East Coast states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative are negotiating new terms for the pact, set to expire in 2020. Massachusetts has joined environmental advocates pushing for a cap on carbon emissions from power plants that would fall 5 percent a year for the next decade, or twice the current rate.

Maryland Secretary of the Environment Ben Grumbles said the proposal could result in higher power bills for Marylanders and harm the state’s economy. If adopted, he said, Maryland would consider pulling out of the regional pact for the first time since it formed in 2008.

“I’m sure every single state could agree if the caps are too stringent for that particular state . . . then those states would be very vocal in saying, ‘We can’t accept that,’ ” Grumbles said.
Maryland is highly dependent on coal for electricity, which produced 46.3% of it's energy in 2014. With a single nuclear power plant, Calvert Cliffs, nuclear produced 37.7%, leaving a hodgepodge of hydro (4.3%), natural gas (6.9%), and solar (effectively 0%)  and wind (to be generous, 1%) to make up the remainder. Unless something bizarre happens, no more nuclear plants will be built in MD in the foreseeable future, and hydro power will do nothing but decline as dams are taken out of service. Any promise to reduce coals contribution in Maryland's power is likely to be met with gas, which while better from a greenhouse point of view than coal, will not satisfy the greenies, who oppose gas plants as well as the fracking to feed them.

It's a fools goal to mandate quick switch to a non fossil fuel future, when neither solar or wind have yet proved capable of filling the gap.

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