Jerry N. Thompson said he and other service station owners would go bankrupt under proposed state environmental regulations to prevent leakage of a gasoline additive, but some people said the rules are not tough enough.
Those opposing views were presented yesterday in testimony before a legislative committee studying an emergency plan to prevent leakage of MTBE, the additive methyl tertiary butyl ether, which is used to make gasoline burn more cleanly but has also contaminated wells in Maryland.
The emergency plan would require new pipes, testing and other measures at a number of service stations in areas where leaks have occurred.
Thompson, who owns three service stations in Harford County, said he has never had a leak in 25 years but has spent $7,000 in recent months on testing for MTBE, which was found to have leaked at nearby stations in Fallston.
"We're only making $60,000 to $70,000 a year," he told the Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review during the hearing in Annapolis. "I understand we need to take care of the problem, but at whose expense?"
A group of Fallston residents said the regulations wouldn't go far enough. Several people urged lawmakers to follow the lead of states that have banned MTBE.
One of them, Barry Gabler, said, "MTBE is not a natural product and should not be in our water."
Verna B. White of Baldwin said, "If you don't put it in, it won't come out."
Secretary of the Environment Kendl P. Philbrick said his plan would have minimal impact on service stations.