Attorney General Gansler Announces Intent to Sue
U.S. Army for Contamination at Fort Meade
Intent Calls for Enforcement of EPA Clean Up OrderBALTIMORE,
MD (August 19,
2008) – Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today notified
the U.S. Army (“Army”) of Maryland’s intention
to file a lawsuit to enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s
(“EPA”) cleanup order for groundwater and soil contamination
at Fort Meade, MD.
of Intent (“NOI”), required
under the citizen suit provisions of the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act (“RCRA”), alleges that the Army has
failed to comply with an existing EPA cleanup order at Fort Meade.
The NOI further notes the presence of contaminants in the soils
and groundwater, which exceed EPA’s maximum acceptable levels,
and may endanger health and the environment.
the EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment (“MDE”)
have been working together for years to investigate and remediate
pollution at Fort Meade. These efforts are progressing well at
many of the 150 identified sites at Fort Meade. However, in August
2007, the EPA issued a RCRA enforcement order to address cleanup
at Fort Meade. The RCRA Order found that there may be an imminent
and substantial endangerment at Fort Meade and ordered that immediate
actions be taken to protect public health and the environment.
The Army has refused to comply.
“Groundwater pollution at
the Fort Meade site has been a problem for many years,” said
Attorney General Gansler. “The Army was ordered to clean
up this site and has failed to complete their mission. We cannot
stand by any longer while this pollution threatens Maryland’s
citizens and the environment.”
has been a permanent U.S. Army Installation since 1917, once
13,500 acres in northwestern Anne Arundel County. A 1990s
evaluation at Fort Meade revealed a laundry list of pollution
pesticides, PCBs, heavy metals, waste fuels and waste oils.
Fort Meade was added to the National Priority List (“NPL”)
on July 28, 1998. Further investigation by the EPA, from 1990 to
2006, detected the presence of contaminants in the groundwater
and soil at levels exceeding EPA standards. Those pollutants include
tetrachloroethene (“PERC”) and arsenic.
pollution and cleanup laws is essential to protect our soil and
groundwater,” said Attorney General Gansler. “The Army
and Fort Meade are valued Federal partners and members of our community
who play an important role in the stewardship of the environment
and natural resources we share. We expect them to do their part
to clean up Maryland’s environment and protect the public. ”
RCRA citizen suit provisions require Maryland to provide the
Army and EPA ninety (90) days notice before filing suit. The
EPA may reach agreement on the cleanup during that time; however,
Maryland has preserved the right to proceed with a lawsuit against
the Army to pursue cleanup of contamination at Fort Meade if
they fail to reach agreement.