ExxonMobil to Pay $4-M Penalty in Maryland

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) and the Office of the Attorney General on Sept. 15 announced the largest environmental penalty ever levied by MDE in a case involving the 2006 release of more than 25,000 gallons of gasoline at ExxonMobil Corporation'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. Under the consent decree, the company also faces potential further penalties of up to $1 million per year if it does not adhere to a specified schedule for continuing the remedial actions begun immediately following discovery of the release in February 2006. MDE also may require ExxonMobil to take additional remedial action to fully address the contamination if needed.

Gov. Martin O'Malley said, "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 size of this penalty is commensurate with the risk to critical groundwater supplies," said Department of the Environment Secretary Shari T. Wilson. "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."

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

"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, visit http://www.mde.state.md.us/Programs/LandPrograms/Oil_Control/RemediationSites/index.asp.

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