Turner Station

Turner Station

Fleming Drive – Turner Station

AAEA FERC Statement


AAEA became involved with Turner Station (sometimes called Turner’s Station) at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearing on June 5, 2006. This was part of AAEA’s nationwide monitoring and participation in liquefied natural gas (LNG) proposals and public meetings. Our position on the project is included in the excerpt below:

“This written statement is being submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide our views on environmental issues related to the Sparrows Point Project (SPP), a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility and gas pipeline. The African American Environmentalist Association supports LNG terminals because of the need for additional natural gas for electricity generation.  However, we will withhold a position on this project until the relevant issues are included in an environmental impact statement (EIS).” (Full Statement) 

AAEA met with AES, the company proposing to build the LNG facility, to discuss the project and to examine the feasibility of adopting recommendations that would benefit all stakeholders. Although interest was expressed to consider the recommendations, subsequent AAEA communications were not answered. In 2008 AAEA was contacted by Mrs. Maxine Thompson, who informed us that AES had been working with them to satisfy some of the needs of the community, but recently (March, 2008) decided to withdraw from the agreements it made with the community. According to Ms. Thompson, this included $15 million, scholarships for students, and a community center.

AES previously took Maxine Thompson, Phyllis Seward and other members of the community on a tour of its LNG facility in Everett, Massachusetts and a tour of its coal plant (Warrior Run) in Cumberland, Maryland. AES also retained Ivan Lanier, CEO of the Greenwill Consulting Group to assist with community outreach. Mr. Lanier’s services were terminated at the same time as the withdrawal from the agreement with Turner Station. This was just a couple of weeks after the end of the January through March Maryland General Assembly legislative session. Members of the community had expressed satisfaction with AES’ arrangements to legislators during the legislative session. We are extremely disappointed with the decisions made by AES. Now the company is communicating that it will be a good neighbor after it receives permission to build its LNG facility. Unfortunately we will have to revisit FERC, the Maryland General Assembly, MDE and others to clarify the situation.

Our primary recommendation for the companies surrounding this community that are greatly benefitting from the production and sale of their valuable goods and services step up to make history and partner with each other to offer relocation compensation to the residents of Turner Station.

History of Turner Station

AAEA and activists from Turner Station, a black community just outside of Baltimore City, have agreed to work together to protect residents from pollution. The community exists in the middle of a perfect storm of pollution sources. The Maryland Department of the Environment, which was located less than a mile away from this community, even moved out of the area several years ago. Turner Station is surrounded by a steel production plant, landfill, electric utility plant and the high power lines run through the community, soil and groundwater chromium contamination, Interstate Highway 695 yards away and nearby Patapsco River dredge spoil. Turner Station has to be the most polluted neighborhood in the United States.

Phyllis Seward and Maxine Thompson

Maxine Thompson and Phyllis Seward are two of the principal local activists working to protect Turner Station. As long time residents of the community, they are knowledgeable about all of the pollution sources threatening their community. With little to no resources, they plead their case to whomever will listen. To date, there has been little to no protection offered or solutions applied. AAEA has agreed to work with Mrs. Thompson and Ms. Seward to protect this community, particularly the most vulnerable: asthmatic children and elderly residents.

AAEA believes that Turner Station is in an industrial zone and humans should not live there. Our hope is that the multibillion dollar international companies will step up to assist with mitigating the environmental conditions faced by residents of Turner Station. We know that such generosity would create goodwill among federal agencies considering environmental injustice issues and state agencies charged with approving air and water permits. Turner Station is in serious need of help. AAEA is promoting two principle solutions to the problems at Turner Station:

1) Buyout for every resident household

2) Minority partnership and equity in any proposed facilities.

Dunbar Brooks, Board Chair, Turner Station Development Corporation, Incorporated, submitted the written statement below to Magalie R. Salas, Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the June 4, 2006 hearing in Dundalk, Maryland public meeting:

“I am writing to you today to communicate the Turner Station, Maryland community’s unequivocal opposition to the placement of the AES Corporation’s Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility at the Sparrows Point, Maryland site.   The Turner Station Development Corporation (TSDC), a community wide development corporation whose membership includes members of every civic group and every section of our Turner Station neighborhood has authorized me to submit these comments and testimony at the scheduled June 5 scoping meeting.  The TSDC along with the Turner Station Conservation Teams who also oppose this project are a part of the larger LNG Opposition Team of Dundalk, Maryland.   Turner Station is the closest residential community to the proposed LNG facility and its associated LNG tanker traffic.  We are the community that would be most impacted by catastrophic incidents associated with the facility and its cargo.” (Full Statement)

Current and Proposed Facilities Surrounding Turner Station

AES has a proposal to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility on the front end of the Severstal site at Sparrows Point. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will be holding a hearing on the LNG project on June 9, 2008 at Patapsco High School Auditorium, 8100 Wise Avenue, Baltimore, MD 410-887-7060 at 7 p.m. The FERC has issued a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and a hard copy is available for review at the North Point Library, 1716 Merritt Boulevard, Baltimore, MD 21222. The DEIS is woefully inadequate in addressing the environmental justice issue facing Turner’s Station. There are also many questions about the way AES has dealt with the Turner’s Station community.

Riverside Power Plant. Constellation Energy owns the 251 megawatt plant located south of Turner Station [Longitude -76.505, Latitude 39.2369]. Th
e plant began operating in 1951. It (Unite 4) is a dry bottom wall fired boiler. The primary fuel is pipeline natural gas. It operated for 528 hours in 2007 (310 hrs in 2006). It produced .1 tons of sulfur dioxide, 76 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 19,763 tons of carbon dioxide in 2007. (EPA) The high power lines that run out of the plant form the northern border of Turner Station. According to the Riverside Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) reportable releases in 2002 included 522,000 gallons of number 2 fuel oil (diesel fuel), 1,200,000 gallons of keresene, and 485,000 MCF (million cubic feet) of natural gas. The TRI reportable releases for 2003 were 752,000 gallons of number 2 fuel oil, 240,000 gallons of keresene, and 125,000 MCF of natural gas.

Honeywell International. Allied Chemical Company (Allied Signal) produced pesticides at its plant west of Turner Station and large areas around the facility are contaminated with chromium and arsenic. Honeywell International merged with Allied in 1999 and is now responsible for cleanup of the site. The clean up could cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Although the manufacturing facility is long gone and the site is now paved over, there is still plenty of tha toxic waste in the ground and groudwater. The waste is also contained at dumping grounds in Dundalk, Fairfield, Lucust Point and near North Point in Baltimore County. Honeywell wants to cap the site and place buildings there while local activists want the site cleaned up. Honeywell is negotiating with the Maryland Department of the Environment to settle the matter, and of course, there is litigation pending in federal court.

Severstal, Russia’s largest steelmaker, run by billionaire Alexei Mordashov, purchased and is currently operating the Sparrows Point steel mill southeast of Baltimore for $810 million, fulfilling an antitrust mandate that Arcelor Mittal divest itself of the Mittal Steel plant. The purchase places Severstal among the five largest U.S. steel producers. (See Also Severstal North America) Mittal Steel, owned by Indian billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, merged with Luxembourg-based Arcelor in 2006 to form Arcelor Mittal, the world’s biggest steel company. It agreed to relinquish the Baltimore plant to resolve Justice Department antitrust concerns.

Open Letter To Severstal

Bethlehem Steel Company (BSC) owned Sparrows Point from the early 1900s until the company declared bankruptcy in 2000. In 2003 the plant was purchased by International Steel Group (ISG), which merged with LTV Steel to create the largest U.S. steel producer. Mittal bought ISG for about $4.5 billion in 2004, merging it with his Ispat International and LNM Holdings. Then in 2006, Mittal merged with Arcelor, prompting the divestment.

Greys Landfill. This solid waste landfill historically owned and operated by Bethlehem Steel and now Severstal is just across Interstate Highway 695 and a Patapsco waterway inlet about half a mile from Turner Station. In a 1997 Consent Decree with EPA and MDE and Bethlehem Steel designated Greys Landfill as an area of special study. The 1997 Consent Decree imposed more stringent compliance requirements for the operation of Greys Landfills. MDE has the sole jurisdiction to enforce the requirements. Greys landfill is designated as “Special Study Areas” in the Consent Decree, as part of the Site Wide Investigation (SWI). This investigation will determine the extent of contamination of the soil and groundwater in and around these areas. Construction work to stabilize the slopes, control sediment release and surface runoff to meet MDE standards at Greys Landfill is underway and was projected to be completed in September 2007.

In 2001, BSC filed for Chapter 11 reorganization but informed EPA that BSC intends to comply with the Consent Decree requirements. In 2003, the court approved BSC’s bankruptcy proceeding. Effective April 30, 2003, International Steel Group (ISG) became the new owner of the Sparrow Point Facility and informed EPA that it would comply with BSC’s Consent Decree. EPA subsequently modified the Consent Decree to substitute ISG for BSC for compliance with all Consent Decree requirements. Now the consent decree applies to Severstal.

A broad range of contaminants were detected at the site associated with steel making process: antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, tin, zinc, ammonia, benzene, cyanide, ethyl benzene, ethylene glycol, hydrogen cyanide, hydrogen sulfide, naphthalene, PAHs, PCBs, pentachlorophenol, phenols, pyrene, sodium phenolate, styrene, sulfuric acid, toluene, trichloroethylene, xylene, coal tar, oils, lime sludge, waste alkaline rinses, mill scale, and ship yard wastes.

Turner Station is just above the 695 sign in images

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Government Contacts:

EPA Project Manager: Mr. Andrew Fan, Environmental Protection Agency – Region III 1650 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029, Phone: (215) 814-3426, Email: fan.andrew@epa.gov

Mr. Richard Johnson Maryland Department of the Environment, 1800 Washington Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21230 Phone: (410) 537-3400 For more information about EPA’s corrective action webpage, including Environmental Indicators, please visit our site at: www.epa.gov/reg3wcmd/correctiveaction.htm

Toxics Release Inventory Form R Reports

Stakeholder Contacts:

AAEA (Or Call 443-569-5102)

Maxine Thompson

Ivan Lanier, CEO, Greenwill Consulting Group

Turner Station – Another Alternative

“A State-of-the-Art Green Community”


Turner Station should be rebuilt in another location using environmentally friendly building materials and powered by renewable energy, including wind, solar and geothermal heat pumps. The construction of the new community would create green jobs and provide training for hundreds of people. The new development should utilize advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), including smart meters and net metering. The best in passive and active solar systems should be utilized for this 21st Century plannned community. A park and community center should be tastefully integrated into the single family and multifamily housing units. Mixed use commercial and institutional buildings should also be included in the new community. These new homes should also be built to environmentally freindly specifications, with added insulation, double-pane windows and high efficiency compact fluorescent lights, extra large south facing windows to take advantage of sunlight for heat and
light, recycled materials water efficient faucets, shower heads, toilets, appliances and computerized controls.

Turner Station could use the Greenburg, Kansas model, which was completely destroyed by an F-5 tornado on May 4, 2007. Now the town of 1,400 is going green and rebuilding the city using solar panels, wind turbines, tinted windows, water-saving toilets and other energy efficient technology. The town government is using LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) in erecting public buildings. Turner Station could retain its rich heritage and serve as a model for the nation if companies will step forward to relocate this vulnerable community.