To claim that environmental leaders welcome Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s efforts at reducing pollution from coal-fired power plants is a stretch ["Md. to Restrict Coal-Burning Power Plants," Metro, Nov. 18]. Mr. Ehrlich's announcement was an attempt to eviscerate real pollution control in Maryland, which is being offered in the proposed Healthy Air Act. This legislation, supported by every major environmental group in the state, calls for serious action against four major pollutants -- mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and carbon dioxide. The governor's regulations water down efforts to reduce the first three and ignore the fourth.

Local power plants spew as much carbon dioxide daily as 750,000 Hummers going around the Capital Beltway for 24 hours. By omitting carbon dioxide, Mr. Ehrlich also ignores the immense problem of global climate change.

As governor of a coastal state, Mr. Ehrlich should be concerned with the damage already being caused by a climate-induced rise in sea level. He says the Chesapeake Bay's recovery is on his agenda, but carbon dioxide hurts the bay, too.


Takoma Park

The writer is a board member of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group based in Takoma Park.