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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

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 further damage.

“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.

   

Attorney General of Maryland 1 (888) 743-0023 toll-free / TDD: (410) 576-6372
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