Explosion Settlement Reached with Curtis Bay Residents by CSX Transportation in Baltimore

Baltimore, Maryland – CSX Transportation has come to an agreement with residents of Curtis Bay following a 2021 explosion at its south Baltimore site. The explosion occurred in December 2021 in the North Reclaim Tunnel but thankfully resulted in no injuries. However, the community was left covered in coal dust.

As part of the settlement, CSX reached a $1.75 million agreement in a class action lawsuit with Curtis Bay residents living near the facility. The activist group “Coal Free Curtis Bay” has been advocating for the closure of the CSX coal plant, urging state regulators to take action in light of the explosion and its aftermath.

Residents in the area filed a lawsuit against CSX Transportation, alleging negligence in maintaining the facility. They claim that the company failed to operate, supervise, and maintain the Curtis Bay Facility properly, leading to the release of coal dust and dangerous contaminants that affected the community. CSX, on the other hand, attributed the explosion to a buildup of methane gas.

The settlement outlines the affected area where individuals who resided near the coal plant during the explosion can file claims. This area stretches from Benjamin Franklin High School on the north end to Curtis Avenue on the east, with Bay Avenue serving as the western border. An air quality study conducted by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration confirmed the presence of coal dust in the communities near the facility.

State regulators are expected to release a draft permit for public review soon, following a temporary halt due to the collapse of the nearby Francis Scott Key Bridge. CSX stated that it has invested over $60 million in Curtis Bay piers over the past five years to enhance operational safety, improve dust control, and implement stormwater collection for onsite reuse at the facility.

The terms of the settlement are pending approval by a federal judge, with a hearing scheduled for September to finalize the agreement. Residents, activists, and regulators will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the safety and well-being of the Curtis Bay community.