Press Release

BALTIMORE, MD (December 1, 2004) – While there is no current threat to Maryland from the crude oil spill in the Delaware River, the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is monitoring the situation and participating in daily conference calls as part of the EPA Region III emergency response team.

“So far, the oil is still in the Delaware River, and there is every expectation that it will be contained there,” said Kendl P. Philbrick, the Maryland secretary of the environment. “But a change in weather conditions could send some of the crude toward Delaware Bay, and we are keeping a close watch on the situation.”

Philbrick said that an oil sheen had been reported near the entrance to the Delaware portion of the C&D Canal, which links the Delaware and Chesapeake bays, but the spilled oil is nearly 100 miles from Maryland’s Atlantic coast.

When the leak was discovered last week, it was estimated to be about 30,000 gallons. Yesterday, however, the U.S. Coast Guard reported that over 473,000 gallons of oil could not be accounted for.

MDE’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) responds to environmental emergencies throughout the state and would play a key role in evaluating any threat to Maryland waters and shoreline. The ERT provides first responders with expert guidance in hazardous materials spills, chemical fires and other environmental disasters.

The ERT works with state and federal environmental and emergency responders in the region.