Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (October 18, 2000) – Maryland’s MTBE Task Force will hold its second meeting tomorrow, Thursday, Oct. 19 at 2 p.m. in the Chesapeake Conference Room of the Maryland Department of the Environment, located at 2500 Broening Highway in east Baltimore.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 required that areas with the worst ground level ozone air pollution, including the Washington D.C. and Baltimore City Metropolitan areas, use reformulated gasoline to reduce air toxic emissions and pollutants that form ground level ozone. Recent studies indicate that Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether (MTBE), the most commonly used additive in reformulated gasoline, may be contaminating ground and surface water, which has raised concerns about possible health effects.

The 16-member task force is charged with examining potential risks associated with the presence of the compound in ground and surface water; assessing national and regional efforts to address the issue; recommending a plan to counteract any environmental and health risks involved; and exploring alternatives to MTBE in reducing air toxic emissions and pollutants that form ground level ozone.

On Thursday the task force will receive reports on the types of public water systems in the state and their monitoring requirements.

Legislation passed during the 2000 session of the General Assembly called for the formation of the task force. Governor Parris N. Glendening appointed nine of the task force members, which includes representatives of the fuel industry, environmental action groups, the underground storage industry, and an expert on environmental health risk assessment. The remainder of the task force is composed of two representatives from Maryland’s House and Senate and the Secretaries or designees of the Departments of Natural Resources, Health & Mental Hygiene and Environment.