Mining Law Suspended

March 11, 1992

ANNAPOLIS — A Carroll delegate and a New Windsor citizen activist who fought to gain legal protections for residents against mining damages say they are disappointed in a court ruling temporarily suspending the law.

The president of the Maryland Aggregates Association Inc., representing about 30 mining companies -- including two that operate quarries in Carroll -- said he was "very pleased" with the decision.

An Anne Arundel County circuit judge on Monday suspended enforcement of the state law that presumes quarry companies liable for water supply damages within a "zone of influence" around their operations.

MAA requested the injunction while it pursues its court case challenging the constitutionality of the law, enacted last year.

Judge Warren B. Duckett Jr. has yet to rule on the state's motion to dismiss the case.

"It just delays the protections we've been seeking forthe people," said Del. Richard N. Dixon, a Carroll Democrat who sponsored the bill. "It's out of my hands now."

New Windsor resident Linda S. Cunfer, spokeswoman for the Statewide Coalition on Non-Coal Surface Mining, said the decision surprised her because state officials told the organization that they didn't expect problems with the legislation in court.

Mining officials say the law is unconstitutional because it unjustly presumes quarry companies liable for damages and singles them out as water users.

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