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BALTIMORE (AP) - Maryland and Delaware are among the nation's top 20 power plant polluters, according to new rankings by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Maryland ranked 19th in the rankings released Thursday, an improvement from fifth place the year before. Delaware rose one spot from 21st the year before to make it onto the top 20 list.

The new rankings are based on 2010 figures, and the NRDC says new standards imposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency mean power plant pollution should drop over the next few years.

The Maryland Department of the Environment credited the drop on a power plant emission law it says is the toughest on the East Coast. MDE says the federal statistics show Maryland has made cuts unmatched by any other state.

Kentucky tops the. Virginia ranks 12th.

Nationwide, the report found a 19 percent drop in all air toxics emitted from power plants in 2010, compared with 2009 levels. The report said one reason for the drop, which included a f percent decrease in mercury emissions, is due to an increased use of natural gas by power companies.

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