Monday, December 29, 2008

Constellation Energy Group Settles Fly Ash Lawsuit

Residents of Gambrills, Maryland who claimed a subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group contaminated their water supply by dumping coal ash near their homes for more than a decade expects a $45 million settlement of their class action to be approved by Baltimore Judge Alfred Nance this week. Plaintiffs’ attorney William “Hassan” Murphy III collaborated with the Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos on the case to come up with the agreement for payouts and property restoration plans.

Constellation Power Source Generation, a subsidiary of Constellation Energy Group, deposited millions of tons of fly ash — a byproduct of burning coal — from two of its Anne Arundel County power plants into two Gambrills quarries from 1995 until last year. In September 2007, Constellation paid a $1 million fine as part of a consent decree with the Maryland Department of the Environment, which had previously approved the program. In their November 2007 lawsuit, the representative plaintiffs alleged Constellation Power Source Generation should have known the ash contained toxic elements such as arsenic, lead and mercury and that it would leach into the groundwater through the quarries’ porous floor. They alleged Constellation had “actively engaged in a campaign of deception to mislead” the plaintiffs as to the health threat.

Constellation has agreed to pay for 84 households, which previously relied on private wells, to be connected to public water over the course of the next two years. The company will also pay for their water bills for 10 years or until they move out, whichever comes first. Constellation will also put $9.5 million into a trust fund for those residents and $500,000 into a separate fund for a second class of plaintiffs — people who lived near the dump site s north of Route 3 between Waugh Chapel and Evergreen roads but who did not use well water. Finally, Constellation has agreed to stop dumping ash at the sites and will spend at least $10 million on remediation of the former sand and gravel quarries and beautifying the acreage, which is now largely an open, grassy field. (The Daily Record, 12/29/08)

Note: We thought Wayne Curry was handling this case.

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