Curtis Bay, Md., residents living near CSX Transportation’s coal export facility gathered June 26 to protest allegedly inadequate water pollution safeguards.
The Sierra Club said June 26 that the local residents, along with the club and the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, held a press conference to voice concerns before delivering hundreds of public comments to the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).
At issue is the CSX coal export facility in southern Baltimore’s Curtis Bay neighborhood, which now transports and exports more coal than ever before. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. coal exports set a monthly record in March, and Baltimore was one of the top five districts exporting coal that month, the club noted. Permits regulating water pollution from the CSX facility have not kept pace with the growth in industry and the resultant pollution, the club added.
With a public comment deadline ending on July 5, Curtis Bay community members gathered near the export facility’s coal piles to call on MDE to protect public health and strengthen water pollution safeguards at the facility.
MDE’s current draft update to the facility’s permit does not require that CSX monitor the amounts of coal-based pollutants that flow from the export facility into the already-polluted Baltimore Harbor, the club said. Citizens and environmental groups are asking MDE to require monitoring for harmful pollutants associated with coal and that MDE set appropriate pollution limits that protect locals’ health.