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Attorney General Frosh is leading a coalition of twelve state Attorneys General opposing the federal government's plans to dramatically expand the scope of offshore drilling for oil and gas, including in waters off the coast of Maryland. In comments submitted to the Department of the Interior, Attorney General Frosh emphasized that our coastal waters are environmentally sensitive, and that each phase of exploration carries significant environmental risks—from the testing and drilling needed to locate deposits, to the damage done during extraction and transport of fuels, to the inevitable spills that occur. A catastrophic spill akin to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, moreover, could devastate our coastal resources—including the State's fishing and tourism economies—for many years to come. Please see press releases below:
Vehicle emissions are one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, and Attorney General Frosh is working to ensure that cars and trucks continue becoming cleaner. Attorney General Frosh joined other state Attorneys General in a successful effort to block the Trump administration from suspending higher penalties on automobile manufacturers that fail to comply with federal fuel efficiency standards. He also is part of a broad multistate coalition challenging EPA's decision to roll back greenhouse gas emission standards for cars and light trucks. Please see press releases below:
Attorney General Frosh has joined numerous other states, the District of Columbia, and some of the nation's largest cities to oppose attempts by the Trump Administration to repeal the Clean Power Plan. Adopted by EPA in 2015, the Clean Power Plan is the first nationwide effort to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. It is a significant step towards combating the causes of climate change (which poses significant threats to Maryland)—not to mention reducing pollutants that harm our air quality and impair public health. Attorney General Frosh is participating in multistate efforts to persuade EPA to implement the Clean Power Plan instead of repealing it. In addition, because EPA failed to schedule hearings in Maryland on its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, Attorney General Frosh worked with State legislative leaders to convene a public hearing for Marylanders. The hearing took place in Annapolis on January 11, 2018, and everyone who testified voiced opposition to EPA's proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. Please see press releases below:
Pollution transport refers to pollution from upwind emission sources that impact air quality at another location downwind. Pollutants can travel great distances on the prevailing winds, often crossing state boundaries and causing air quality problems in downwind states. The EPA has acknowledged that Maryland's problem attaining and maintaining compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone is due in large part to transported pollution from other states. The Clean Air Act's “good neighbor provision" requires the EPA and states to prohibit interstate transport of air pollution that negatively affects downwind states' ability to attain and maintain federal air quality standards. Pursuant to section 126 of the Clean Air Act, a state may petition the EPA for a finding that sources in another state are emitting air pollutants in violation of the good neighbor provision. On November 16, 2017, Maryland filed a section 126 petition with the EPA, but EPA failed to act on that petition within 60 days, as required by law. The Office of the Attorney General is representing the State in a lawsuit against the EPA asking that the United States District Court for the District of Maryland order the EPA to act on the 126 petition. On June 13, 2018, the District Judge ordered the EPA to take final agency action on the petition by no later than September 15, 2018.
In addition to the good neighbor provision, the Clean Air Act establishes an Ozone Transport Region (OTR), comprised of various Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, including Maryland. The states within the OTR must implement certain mandatory requirements to reduce ozone pollution. The EPA may expand the OTR, either on its own initiative or in response to a petition from any state filed under section 176A of the Clean Air Act. On December 9, 2013, the states of Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont – all OTR states – filed a section 176A petition asking the EPA to expand the OTR to include certain states which are significantly contributing to ozone pollution within the OTR. The EPA failed to timely act on that petition, and following a lawsuit to compel a decision, the EPA denied the petition. The Attorney General's Office is representing Maryland in a lawsuit against the EPA alleging that the petition denial was arbitrary and capricious.
Please see press release below:
The Office of the Attorney General negotiated the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) signed in September 2014 with Sparrows Point Terminal LLC (now dba Tradepoint Atlantic), the purchaser of 3100 acre former Sparrows Point steelmaking facility. As required by the ACO, the property was entered into the Voluntary Cleanup Program. Since 2014, under the oversight of the Maryland Department of the Environment and U.S EPA Region 3 Office of Remediation Land and Chemicals, significant progress has been made in the investigation of environmental conditions at the property. Several large parcels have approved or completed response and development work plans and are in productive reuse with tenants such as Pasha, Federal Express, Under Armor, Amazon, Royal Farms, and Gotham Greens. Tradepoint Atlantic is also addressing legacy contamination in the former Rod and Wire Mill Area (cadmium and zinc), the Coke Oven Area (benzene) and, in January 2018, began the removal of contaminated sediments from the 7,500 foot long Tin Mill Canal, which previously received process waste water from the mills.
On April 25, 2018, the Office of the Attorney General and the Maryland Department of the Environment entered into a $33.5 million settlement agreement with Volkswagen AG and its affiliates, Audi AG and Porsche AG. The agreement settles an enforcement action brought by MDE for the auto manufacturers' use of “defeat devices" in certain models of their vehicles in violation of Maryland's air quality control laws. Specifically, the devices were installed in model year 2009-2015 diesel engines to ensure that the vehicle's emissions controls performed properly during emissions testing but in real-world driving conditions, the device switched off or scaled back the vehicle's emissions controls—resulting in harmful nitrogen oxide emissions. Under the terms of the agreement, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche agreed to:
Pay a $29 million civil penalty.
Select a Maryland-based port facility to provide certain logistical and other support to Volkswagen Group of America, Inc.'s U.S. East Coast operations over an estimated five-year term, valued at $4.5 million addition to the Maryland economy. If those terms are not met, an additional $4.5 million will be added to the civil penalty raising the total penalty to $33.5 million.
Increase the availability of zero emission vehicles (ZEVs) in Maryland by introducing three additional battery electric vehicle (BEV) models in Maryland, including the currently available e-Golf BEV or its successor or replacement models through 2019 and, in the event that Volkswagen agrees to offer a new BEV model in the United States between 2020 and 2025, Volkswagen will offer that BEV model (or its successor) in Maryland until at least 2025. Please see press release below:
The Office of the Attorney General is representing the State in pursuing claims against petroleum manufacturers who used a chemical additive—methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE)—that has contaminated groundwater throughout Maryland. The Attorney General has assigned a group of Assistant Attorneys General to coordinate this effort, along with a team of Special Counsel who have experience representing New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico in similar litigation. In December of 2017 the State filed suit against over 50 manufacturers and suppliers of MTBE, which the Environmental Protection Agency considers to be a possible carcinogen. The litigation is expected to last several years. Please see press release below:
Attorney General Frosh has joined a coalition of Attorneys Generals to challenge the legality of the Trump Administration's attempts to weaken federal clean water protections. EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have initiated two rulemakings that would first delay, and ultimately repeal, the “Clean Water Rule" – a federal regulation that defines the scope of federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act and that is designed to ensure the nation's lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands receive proper federal protection. In September 2017, a coalition of Attorneys Generals submitted comments to EPA and the Army Corps opposing a proposal to outright repeal the Clean Water Rule. Then, in December 2017, a coalition of Attorneys General submitted comments on a second proposal from EPA and the Army Corps to suspend the Clean Water Rule for a period of two years. That proposal became final in February 2018, and Attorney General Frosh joined with 10 other Attorneys General to file suit challenging the legality of the federal action to suspend the rule. The Attorneys General allege that the Trump Administration lacks the authority to suspend the Clean Water Rule after its effective date has passed; failed to provide a meaningful opportunity for public comment on the substance of the suspension proposal; and disregarded the massive factual and scientific record that supported the Clean Water Rule at the time it was developed.
The Trump Administration has also solicited comment on whether EPA should clarify or revise its position on whether pollutants that reach surface waters by way of groundwater flow with a direct hydrologic connection to surface water should be subject to federal regulation under the Clean Water Act. On May 21, 2018, Attorney General Frosh led a coalition of 5 states in submitting comments to EPA. The Attorneys General urged EPA not to abandon its long-held position that pollution discharges that reach surface waters by way of a sufficiently direct groundwater connection are subject to federal regulation. The Attorneys General pointed out the need for a robust federal regulatory role and the importance of strong protections against degradation in the quality of the nation's waters. Please see the press releases below:
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