Another tiff brews over Constellation ash landfill
A new dust-up is brewing over the coal-ash landfill on Hawkins Point in South Baltimore.
Nearby residents, who waged a vain fight to keep power plant waste out of the landfill, now are girding to oppose a proposal to expand it.
Constellation Energy recently began dumping ash there from its three local coal-burning plants, Brandon Shores, H.A. Wagner and C.P. Crane. Meanwhile, the company has applied to the Maryland Department of the Environment for a permit to operate the disposal site and to expand it, bulldozing an acre of wetlands in the process.
The 65-acre site on Fort Armistead Road had been owned by Millenium Inorganic Chemicals, but Constellation bought it about the time MDE approved depositing coal ash there. Now the energy company wants to expand the landfill on the tract from 28 acres to 32 acres and raise the height by up to 50 feet (from 220 feet above mean sea level to 270 feet, or 156 feet above ground level.)
Some environmentalists and Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold have already weighed in against the expansion. Leopold, who's maintained a ban on ash disposal in Arundel since an earlier Constellation dump contaminated Gambrills residents' wells, wrote a letter urging the state to deny the permits for the expansion. The ash contains toxic residues, some of them carcinogenic.
"We weren't crazy about this - we fought it," Mary M. Rosso, a longtime activist from Glen Burnie, said of the landfill. Now the expansion proposal "just drives me crazy," she added.
She and other residents have dueled with Constellation before over ash disposal and have long complained about air and water pollution from other facilities in the nearby industrial areas of South Baltimore. This time, she said, she and others are particularly upset about the prospect of losing an acre of noontidal wetlands.