Attorney General Gansler, Maryland Department of
the Environment File Suit Against Mining Company
BALTIMORE, MD (May
13, 2009) – Attorney General Douglas
F. Gansler announced today that the State of Maryland has filed
suit against Lafarge Mid-Atlantic and Lafarge North America (Lafarge)
for water pollution violations at its Texas Quarry in Cockeysville.
The complaint filed in the Circuit Court for Baltimore County alleges
413 violations of Maryland’s water pollution laws at the
concrete production and limestone quarry. Each violation carries
a maximum penalty of $10,000.
The Texas Quarry is
a surface mine operated by Lafarge and mined primarily for construction
aggregate. On or about March 21, 2007,
it is alleged that Lafarge discharged several tons of aggregate,
crushed stone, and stone dust into nearby Goodwin Run – a
tributary of Gunpowder Falls - and its floodplain. The amount of
material discharged ranged in depth from 4 to 18 inches and reduced
the width of the stream from approximately 15 feet wide to less
than four feet wide.
The State contends that the discharge caused significant environmental
harm including destroying the marine and wildlife that existed
in the stream at the point of discharge. In addition, despite a
clear requirement to remove the aggregate from the stream, Lafarge
did not do so until May 6, 2008, a period of more than 400 days.
During that time, there was a significant risk that aggregate,
crushed stone and stone dust could wash down the stream causing
“This discharge damaged the natural habitat and marine
life in the nearby stream,” said Attorney General Gansler. “To
allow the discharge to occur and to wait more than a year to fix
the problem only caused further harm. We will continue to make
sure that companies abide by Maryland’s environmental laws
and hold them accountable when violations occur.”
“Maryland’s water pollution laws are well known,
and every entity must comply with those requirements to protect
our streams,” said Shari T. Wilson, Secretary of the Maryland
Department of the Environment (MDE). “MDE is pursuing penalties
for violations of those requirements.”
In addition to the discharge in 2007, Lafarge also installed 609 feet of rip
rap in Goodwin Run without the required approval from MDE. Lafarge has acknowledged
that it failed to get the required authorization and has entered into an agreement
with MDE to implement the required remediation.
See complaint here.