University of Baltimore Journal of Land and Development


Over the past few decades, Maryland has been faced with a controversial issue pertaining to methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) groundwater contamination.1 In 1979, MTBE was added to gasoline in an attempt to reduce smog-producing air pollutants.2 While its chemical properties have been scientifically proven to reduce air pollutants, this “environmentally friendly” chemical eventually became a topic of great debate as MTBE was leaking through underground storage tanks and contaminating groundwater sources.3 Many states thereafter filed lawsuits against gasoline refining companies for their role in adding MTBE, and most of them have received remarkably high settlements in return.4 The State of Maryland is one such state that has been impacted by the adverse effects of MTBE, but has not yet filed a lawsuit.5 The issue that Maryland government officials now face is whether they have a compelling case to pursue a lawsuit.6 In short, the answer is yes they do.