Maryland has approved a coal ash landfill at a site on the Anne Arundel County-Baltimore City line. State environmental officials insist pollution safeguards are in place.
The new landfill must have a plastic liner to keep contaminants from groundwater as well as monitoring wells. Ash also must be wetted daily to prevent it from becoming airborne.
Constellation Energy plans to dump 200,000 tons of ash on the 65-acre tract in southeast Baltimore.
It's the first new disposal site for power plant waste to be approved since 2007, when it was discovered that wells in Gambrills were contaminated with waste from a nearby dump.
Maryland Department of the Environment fined Constellation $1 million, and a few dozen area residents won a multimillion-dollar legal settlement that also set terms for cleaning up the site and eventually building on it.
A $275 million shopping center is now planned for the site, though some findings by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and Tufts University have raised new concerns about the quality of the drinking water in the area.
Earlier this month, the House of Representatives passed the 21st Century Cures Act in a rare bi-partisan effort. The bill is meant to speed the development of lifesaving treatments, but critics warn it may also allow ineffective or even harmful drugs onto the market.
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