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16-year Md. air pollution case nears end in federal court

BALTIMORE — A federal air pollution case involving a western Maryland paper mill is reaching its final phase 16 years after regulators first alleged a violation.

U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis in Baltimore has scheduled a conference with lawyers March 31 to discuss proceedings to resolve the case of the United States versus Westvaco Corp.

In a decision last month, Garbis found that the mill in Luke has emitted more pollutants than it should have for 30 years. But he says the government’s delayed filing of a lawsuit in 2000 precludes the imposition of a fine.

Garbis is proposing that he require the company to buy and retire emission credits.

The mill was recently acquired by Verso Corp. of Memphis, Tennessee. Verso is the mill’s third owner since the dispute began.