Maryland Department of Environment, Attorney General Obtain Largest-Ever Civil Action Penalty

Press Release

Maryland Department of the Environment

Media Contacts

Robert Ballinger
(410) 537-3012

Dawn Stoltzfus
(410) 537-3003

Shanetta Paskel, Office of the Attorney General
410-576-7939

Maryland Department of Environment, Attorney General Obtain Largest-Ever Civil Action Penalty

BALTIMORE, MD (September 15, 2008) – The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Office of the Attorney General today announced a settlement of a case against ExxonMobil Corporation for the 2006 release of more than 25,000 gallons of gasoline at ExxonMobil’s Jacksonville Service Station in Baltimore County.

The Consent Decree settles a Complaint filed by MDE in April 2006 as a result of the discovery of an underground pipe at the service station that had been leaking gasoline into the ground for over one month. ExxonMobil will be required to pay the State a $4 million civil penalty, the largest state environmental penalty ever levied by MDE. Under the Consent Decree, the company also faces potential further penalties of up to $1 million per year if the company does not adhere to a specified schedule for continuing the remedial actions begun immediately following discovery of the release in February 2006. MDE may also require ExxonMobil to take additional remedial action to fully address the contamination if needed.

“MDE will continue to place the highest priority on enforcing the laws of the State that protect public health,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “The State’s groundwater resources are a critical component of our drinking water supply. It is imperative that laws protecting groundwater are fully enforced.”

The $4 million penalty demonstrates MDE’s commitment to protecting groundwater and the health of Marylanders. Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson said: “The size of this penalty is commensurate with the risk to critical groundwater supplies. A number of our environmental regulations are preventative in nature. In the case of underground storage tanks, daily inventory and immediate follow-up to variations are critical. This case demonstrates why these rules are so important.”

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler said: “This consent decree is a significant victory for the environment and for the residents of North Baltimore who have had to live with this contamination for too long. Not only does the consent decree ensure a swift cleanup of this pollution, but it also serves as a clear warning to polluters that doing so will come with a heavy price. We will continue to vigorously enforce the laws that protect our environment.”

In February 2006, ExxonMobil reported the gasoline spill from an underground storage tank in Maryland. Cleanup of the groundwater began immediately and is well underway.

“MDE’s team of oil control experts and geologists continue to oversee the groundwater remediation. The active participation of residents in this area has also been critical to the successful cleanup activities to date. The Consent Decree firms up the ongoing remediation to achieve remedial goals and contains significant, stipulated penalties if ExxonMobil fails to meet deadlines or requirements,” said MDE’s Oil Control Program Manager Herb Meade.

For more information about this site, visit MDE’s website.

 

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