A meeting to address residents' concerns over environmental hazards on the site of the proposed Harbor Point development has been delayed because of the federal government shutdown.

The meeting had been scheduled for Monday at neighbors' demands, but Environmental Protection Agency officials will not be able to attend because they have been furloughed, said City Councilman James Kraft, who organized the meeting.

The controversial Harbor Point development, slated to house energy company Exelon Corp. and other offices, shops and housing, is being built on the site of a chromium ore processing plant that operated for 140 years before being closed in 1985. A five-foot "cap" of clean soil, plastic and gravel and an underground barrier were built to contain chromium-laced soil and groundwater, but some are concerned construction of the project could release some of the contamination.

Honeywell, the company that owns the site and retains liability for ensuring none of the contamination escapes, had been slated to outline its efforts to contain the contamination. Representatives from EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment were scheduled to answer questions after Honeywell's presentation.

Without EPA officials in attendance, "the purposes of the meeting cannot be fully met," Kraft said in a statement. The meeting will be rescheduled once the government shutdown ends, he said.

Construction at Harbor Point had been expected to begin this month, but Kraft is asking developer Beatty Development Group to hold off until the meeting is held and residents' questions are answered.

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