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Pair sue over Horseshoe Casino site contamination

A new lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court over the construction of the Horseshoe Casino, this one accusing the city of violating the federal Clean Water Act by letting contaminants from the former chemical factory and industrial site seep into the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River.

The suit, filed Tuesday on behalf of two men who claim to use and enjoy the river, asks the court to order the city to stop the pollution. But the pair, Edward J. Myers of Glen Burnie and Mark E. Richardson of Federal Hill, seek only nominal monetary damages of just $1 plus 10 cents per day for every violation the court finds.

It is the third lawsuit raising environmental concerns about the development of the casino on Russell Street. G. Macy Nelson, their lawyer, had filed another lawsuit in May in Baltimore Circuit Court alleging that the city was also violating state law by allowing toxic chemicals to leach into the river from the site. That petition also sought a court-ordered cleanup rather than damages.

A group of Westport residents backed by a Washington-based foundation filed suit in February arguing that the city, state and casino developer skirted state and federal laws requiring cleanup of the site.

George Nilson, the city solicitor, has likened the litigation to a "plague of locusts" seeking to tie up the casino project. The city and CBAC Gaming have noted that the Maryland Department of the Environment approved the developer's plan to cover the contaminated ground at the site with new buildings, pavement and clean soil.

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