Enviro groups pressure Maryland governor over two coal plants

The Maryland Sierra Club, joined by the Chesapeake Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, announced Oct. 8 the launch of a statewide ad campaign to urge Gov. Martin O’Malley to clean up the coal-fired C.P. Crane and H.A. Wagner power plants.

The groups said these outdated power plants are the only ones on the East Coast that operate without modern pollution controls for SO2. The major media rollout of the pressure campaign includes ads in the Baltimore Sun and the Capital Gazette. TV ads will launch in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties later in October.

“Thanks to Governor O’Malley, Maryland is poised to be a leader on offshore wind development and a national trailblazer for clean energy investments,” said Dave O’Leary, Chapter Chair, Maryland Sierra Club. “Yet as we bring more clean energy online, Governor O’Malley must also commit to cleaning up our air in order to provide a truly safe, prosperous environment for all Marylanders. Cleaning up the Crane and Wagner coal plants – two of the dirtiest coal-burning plants on the East Coast – is the right place to start, and the Sierra Club is pleased that the Governor’s administration recently committed to working to limit pollution from both plants.”

The Crane and Wagner coal plants, located in Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties, both began operating over fifty years ago. 

The Maryland Department of the Environment recently committed to initiating a stakeholder process that seeks to ensure that Crane and Wagner’s SO2 emissions, as well as NOx emissions, do not exceed federal health-based air quality standards, the groups noted. The Sierra Club and the Chesapeake Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility are calling for the strongest standards possible as part of that process.

In November 2012, the sale of the largely coal-fired H.A. Wagner, C.P. Crane and Brandon Shores power plants closed, with the sale to affiliates of Raven Power Holdings LLCThis deal fulfills Exelon’s (NYSE: EXC) commitment to regulators to divest the plants, for regional market power mitigation reasons, as part of its merger with Constellation Energy. Between the time of the tentative plant sale deal and the final closing, the Sierra Club called on Raven to shut Crane and Wagner.

Since 2008, the three plants have undergone major environmental upgrades, including investment in a new SO2 scrubber at Brandon Shores that makes it one of the cleanest coal plants in the nation. Several coal-fired power plants in the state had to install scrubbers a few years ago due to the Maryland Healthy Air Act. The three Raven plants are:

  • Brandon Shores, which consists of two coal-fired boilers and two steam turbines with 1,286 MW of nameplate capacity.
  • Wagner, which is a coal-, gas-, and oil-fired facility located in Anne Arundel County that shares a site with Brandon Shores. Wagner consists of two coal-fired units with 459 MW of nameplate capacity, one natural gas-fired unit with 133 MW of nameplate capacity, and one oil-fired unit with 415 MW of nameplate capacity.
  • Crane, which is a coal- and oil-fired facility located in Baltimore County. It consists of two coal-fired units powered by cyclone steam boilers with 385 MW of nameplate capacity and an oil-fired turbine with 14 MW of nameplate capacity.
About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.