What’s happening?

Following months of complaints from Curtis Bay residents, the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) issued five citations to CSX Transportation on July 20 in connection to an explosion at its coal terminal last December, Mark Reutter reports for the Baltimore Brew. 

What are Curtis Bay residents saying about the findings? 

MDE’s findings confirm what Curtis Bay residents reported after last year’s explosion, and according to Greg Sawtell, one of the co-chairs of the Community of Curtis Bay Association, CSX and other chemical factories have been polluting the neighborhood for decades without much intervention from MDE. However, he hopes these citations mark the first steps toward mitigating environmental degradation in the area. 

“Apparently, it takes a mass explosion for MDE to wake up to what residents have been describing for decades,” Sawtell said. “It’s too late to protect people’s lungs that have already been damaged, but perhaps it can bring about some meaningful action.”

Sawtell suggested the department allocate funds to improve homes, green infrastructure, recreation, and transportation in Curtis Bay. MDE Secretary Horacio Tablada said the department is working with volunteers from the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to install a neighborhood air monitoring system. 

Anything else I should know? 

Each violation could result in a fine as high as $25,000, in addition to other financial penalties. MDE referred the enforcement of the violations to the state attorney general’s office. 

You can read more here.