Protecting Our Natural Resources
Attorney General Gansler has made protecting our environment, and specifically the Chesapeake Bay, one of his top priorities, which is why upon taking office he quickly established an executive level position of Special Assistant for the Environment, set up the Attorney General’s Environmental Advisory Council to assist him in identifying priority environmental issues, and helped create a special Department of Natural Resources docket in Anne Arundel County District Court to more efficiently process environmental violations.
Defending the Chesapeake Bay – Maryland’s Most Treasured Resource
Making Maryland history with a $1.1 million water penalty, Attorney General Doug Gansler has not shied away from taking on those who pollute our waters, whether they be individual violators, our nation’s largest corporations – even the United States Army.
- Criminally convicted owner and operators of a Frederick County mobile home park for illegally disposing sewage into a nearby waterway, obtaining a $200,000 penalty against the park owner.
- Filed enforcement action against Dorchester County requiring it to shut down a site that was causing pollution runoff into nearby streams.
- Obtained the largest ever civil penalty paid to Maryland Department of the Environment from ExxonMobil to settle a case involving the illegal release of more than 25,000 gallons of gasoline.
- Required Velsicol Chemical Company to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater, make improvements to its current wastewater treatment system, and pay $200,000 into the Maryland Clean Water Fund in response to violations of the State’s water pollution and hazardous substance laws.
- Required West Virginia company PPG Industries to reduce mercury emission at its plant – a significant step in ending mercury pollution in the waterways of western Maryland.
- Filed suit in federal court against the Department of the Army because of its failure to enforce the Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup order for groundwater and soil contamination at Fort Meade.
Attorney General Gansler has not waited for violations to the Bay to make the news before prosecuting, he has proactively sought to ferret out polluters by conducting audits of the riversheds that feed the Bay as he promised he would when he ran for office in 2006.
Attorney General Gansler knows he cannot single-handedly clean up the Bay and that those who work, study, and live on the Bay often have the best information on who is polluting, which is why he spearheaded an effort to provide standing for environmental groups and individuals to sue polluters in State court.
Attorney General Doug Gansler also knows it is not enough to punish those who pollute. When it comes to the Bay we have to keep pollution from entering the Bay in the first place, which is why he championed a law that eliminates phosphorous from dishwashing detergent by 2010, keeping it out of our wastewater treatment plants, and out of our Bay.
It also is why he has championed bringing a chicken waste to power plant to Maryland. This plant will keep 1 billion pounds of chicken manure, the number one source of pollution to the Bay, out of the water, turning it into energy, giving our poultry local farmers an additional source of income from their farms – and taking one giant step to cleaning up the Bay.
- Supported and lobbied for passage of legislation classifying poultry litter as a renewable Tier 1 energy source, providing power companies with an incentive to use it to meet renewable energy requirements.
- As co-Chair of the Environmental Committee of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), initiated an effort to remove arsenic from chicken feed, which ultimately ends up in our waterways and in the chicken we eat.
Protecting the Air We Breathe
Just as a clean Bay is essential to the health and prosperity of Maryland so is clean air, which is why Attorney General Gansler has taken the same tough approach to those who pollute our air as to those who pollute the Bay – even challenging the EPA when necessary.
- Reached $4.6 billion air quality settlement with American Electric Power, the largest environmental settlement in American history. As a result of the multi-million dollar settlement, at least 813,000 tons of pollution will be eliminated from our air every year.
- Required Mirant to install new pollution control and monitoring equipment at its Morgantown, Dickerson and Chalk Point plants, pay a civil penalty and pay Prince George’s County to retrofit county diesel school buses with pollution reduction equipment.
- Reached settlement with Constellation Energy and Mirant requiring both companies to install new pollution control equipment. Additionally, required Constellation to pay $1.1 billion penalty and Mirant to pay $1.6 billion penalty.
- In response to repeated air violations, required Mettiki Coal to install new pollution control equipment.
- Joined a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to uphold the right of states to regulate greenhouse gas pollution from automobiles; filed motion to intervene in New Jersey, et al v EPA – allowing Maryland to challenge the federal mercury rule challenge; joined with other states in three other environmental challenges over clean air, hazardous waste, and mercury from cement plants.