Maryland Coal Plant Shuts Down. Wait, Is That Good or Bad?

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FirstEnergy Corp. made good on its threat to close the R. Paul Smith coal-burning power plant in Western Maryland (and five other plants out of state) in response to stricter anti-pollution regulations handed down by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network has called the R. Paul Smith the “oldest and arguably the dirtiest coal plant in Maryland.” Up to now it had been allowed to operate without complying to current Maryland anti-pollution legislation. And the Maryland Public Service Commission does not expect the closing of the plant to put Marylanders at greater risk of service interruption.

On the other hand, the plant employs around forty people, and it may only be the first of many to close up shop in the face of difficult-to-meet environmental standards.

If we accept that we are in an environmental crisis, should we flinch when the necessary steps to curb climate change lose people their jobs?

In a recession, should we accept any economic collateral damage to environmental policy?



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