CHARLES COUNTY — Bay group sues to block exploratory drilling
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation filed suit yesterday seeking to block Texaco Inc. from drilling an exploratory well in Charles County.
The lawsuit asks the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court to stay a drilling permit the state issued in December until a more thorough study has been made of how the bay might be harmed if oil or gas were found.
Texaco plans to drill a 10,000-foot well near Faulkner, about 1,200 feet from Popes Creek, which empties into the Potomac River.
Oil company officials say they are looking for natural gas, and they pledge to take precautions against well blowouts or spills of toxic materials.
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, which gave Texaco the permit, last month denied the foundation's request for a trial-like public hearing. DNR officials ruled that the Annapolis-based environmental group and several individual citizens lacked legal standing to appeal the permit.
The foundation said it has 40,000 members in Maryland, 383 of them in Charles County, who would be affected by oil or gas production in Southern Maryland. Two members who appealed individually hike along the Potomac near the site of the proposed well, the suit says.
Texaco is drilling its third exploratory well across the Potomac in Virginia after two previous test wells found nothing.
Man with dead grenade scares clinic staff
A 27-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he walked into a mental health clinic on West Baltimore Street with what turned out to be a harmless grenade, city police reported.
Agent Arlene K. Jenkins, a police spokeswoman, said the incident began just after 2 p.m. when a man walked into the Assertive Community Treatment Team, operated by the University of Maryland in the 1200 block of West Baltimore Street. He placed a "pineapple grenade" on the counter and asked an employee if she "scared easy," Agent Jenkins said.
As the employee turned to telephone police, the man left and called the clinic moments later from the lobby of the nearby University of Maryland Medical Center. He was arrested after he revealed his location during a phone conversation with a police officer dispatched to the clinic, Agent Jenkins said.
Officers with the police emergency unit checked out the grenade and determined it was harmless, Agent Jenkins said.
Police said they do not know what motivated the man to take the grenade to the mental health clinic.
Terry Zumack, 27, of the 2000 block of St. Paul Street was charged with possession of an explosive device.
Art historian cancels talk in UMBC series
Tonight's lecture by Maurice Berger at the University of Maryland Baltimore County has been canceled because the speaker has the flu.
Dr. Berger, an art historian, was to talk on "Ecology as Radical Ideology" in the third of a series of four lectures on nature and society.
The final lecture will be held next week. Mark Sagoff, an environmental ethicist, will talk on "Nature and Biotechnology" at 7:30 p.m. on March 11 in the University Center ballroom.