Maryland retains law firms consortium to help case against petroleum manufacturers

By Mark Iandolo | Jan 29, 2016

BALTIMORE (Legal Newsline) — A consortium of law firms will join the Maryland office of the attorney general in taking action against petroleum manufacturers that allegedly used a chemical additive that contaminated groundwater throughout Maryland, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has announced.

These law firms are well-versed in issues related to methyl tertiary butyl ether, or MTBE. Between 1995 and 2001, gasoline manufacturers used MTBE in their products to make fuel burn cleaner. When fuel laced with the substance leaks, however, it can cause major issues. If it comes into contact with water supplies, it chemically bonds to the water and leads to foul-smelling and foul-tasting drinking water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists MTBE as a suspected carcinogen.

The state of Maryland has identified more than 12,000 leaking underground storage tanks, 700 contaminated private wells and more than 200 contaminated water systems. Cleanup of these issues can cost hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.

"The companies that caused this contamination should be held responsible for their actions," Frosh said. "This legal team has the expertise and the ability to make Maryland whole from this environmental damage and to ensure accountability. We are enlisting the resources we need to protect the public."

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State of Maryland U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

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