AG Gansler Secures Guilty Plea in Open Burn Case
Prince George's County man illegally conducted burn without a permit
Baltimore, MD ( Sept. 6, 2012) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today the criminal conviction of George E. Rodgers, Sr., 68, of Mitchellville, on environmental charges filed against him in Prince George's County. In a hearing before District Court Judge Karen H. Mason, Rodgers pled guilty to illegally conducting an open fire burn without a permit at the site of his business, Rodgers Brothers Services, Inc., in Capitol Heights. He received a $20,000 fine with $10,000 suspended, a 90-day suspended sentence and five years probation.
"Burning debris may be the easy way to discard unwanted materials, but it's also illegal and potentially toxic to both the environment and our own health," said Attorney General Gansler. "Pursuing environmental criminals has been a major focus of our work during the last five-and-a-half years and we will continue to go after individuals and businesses that show disregard for the environment."
On November 29, 2011, inspectors from Prince George's County and the Maryland Department of the Environment were at the Rodgers Brothers Service, Inc. business site, located at 1306 Rollins Avenue in Capitol Heights. Rodgers Brothers represents itself as an environmental construction and demolition debris recycling company. George E. Rodgers Sr. is a primary partner/owner of the company. When the inspectors arrived, they saw Rodgers overseeing a burning of debris and advised him that the large piles of debris and the burn sites were illegal and unpermitted. Rodgers said that he understood and that he would extinguish the burning immediately and have all the debris piles cleaned up within 30 days. Thereafter, the MDE inspector returned to the property on several occasions and found Rodgers conducting illegal burns and continuing to maintain large piles of construction debris. No permits had been requested or issued for the burning or the open dump.
Open burning and dumping of materials carries the potential of dangerous chemicals being released into the environment. Burning items can release toxic pollutants and can cause health problems for anyone living or working on site or nearby. Some pollutants may cause or aggravate cancer, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema and other conditions.