State officials have withdrawn regulations that would have increased environmental protections at the state's 15 rubble fills, two weeks before those requirements were to take effect.
The regulations, which were to have been completed Friday, would have required all rubble fills to have liners and leachate collection systems by Oct. 16, 1996. Rubble fills are dump sites for construction and demolition debris, some of which contain hazardous pollutants. Maryland is one of the few Eastern Seaboard states that does not require liners, which cost about $100,000 per acre.
The Maryland Department of the Environment's decision infuriated environmentalists.
"Nobody at the state level seems to have any backbone when it comes to doing what has to be done," said Ben Zellin of Harwood, treasurer of the South (Anne Arundel) County Civic Association.
His group is battling PST Reclamation, a commercial rubble fill. "Opponents of the liner regulations have been successful in getting this thing stalled," he said.
Seven of the rubble fills in Maryland are government-run. The others are commercial operations. Richard W. Collins, director of MDE's waste management administration, said he wants to propose new regulations by Dec. 31.