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For Immediate Release

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

Department of Environment, Office of Attorney General Obtain Largest-Ever Maryland Asbestos Penalty against Erie Vera LLC
Baltimore Judge Finds Willful Activity, Imposes Maximum $1.2 Million Civil Penalty


BALTIMORE, MD ( May 7, 2010) -The Department of the Environment prevailed this week in an asbestos enforcement case in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The Court imposed a civil penalty of $115,500 against 2315 St. Paul Street, LLC and the maximum penalty of $1,225,000 against Erie Vera, LLC, finding the defendants’ actions were willful and making this the largest penalty ever imposed for an asbestos case in Maryland.

“The defendant showed no regard for the health of the workers and the surrounding environment by not following the proper process when removing asbestos,” said Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. “I am pleased that the State was able to secure the largest asbestos penalty ever, sending a clear message that we will continue to vigorously enforce Maryland's environmental laws.”

MDE Secretary Shari T. Wilson said, “Maryland will continue to fully enforce the laws that safeguard public health. The anonymous tip that led MDE to the discovery of these illegal and unsafe actions is a reminder of the important role Marylanders play in protecting our environment and public health.”

On September 4, 2007, MDE’s asbestos program received an anonymous complaint that asbestos was being disturbed during renovation. MDE’s inspector observed asbestos debris, as well as a large pile of asbestos contaminated debris, on each floor of a large 6-story building. The debris was being shoveled into a large garbage chute that descended five stories into an open dumpster on the ground. There were no signs of engineering controls, or wetting of the asbestos containing materials, as is required by law. In addition, none of 15-20 workers on site were using the required physical protection, such as respirators or protective clothing.

MDE’s inspector ordered the owner to stop all work, immediately evacuate the workers, and hire a licensed asbestos contractor to decontaminate the building. Approximately 7,500 bags of asbestos waste, including 1,500 linear feet of friable pipe insulation, were generated during the decontamination

Asbestos is a hazardous air pollutant that is regulated by the State and federal governments Asbestos-related diseases include asbestosis, lung cancer, mesothelioma, and digestive system cancers. The State of Maryland regulates how persons work with asbestos and also regulates those who train persons to work with asbestos.

Secretary Wilson and Attorney General Gansler would like to thank MDE Inspector Tim O’Hare and Assistant Attorney General Chris Corzine for their work on this case.

   

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