2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

A chemical company addressed historical contamination at its manufacturing facility under the Superfund program through a series of administrative orders and a 2018 consent decree, which implemented the final remedial work. The decree expressly reserved the rights of the federal and state governments to pursue compensation for natural resource damages (NRD).

NRD Compensation in Addition to Remediation
On October 3, 2022, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it and the State of Ohio had reached a settlement with the company that addresses NRD resulting from the company’s operation at the facility for over 70 years.

NRD Payments and Projects
Under the terms of the consent decree, the company must make payments of over $2 million, with $880,000 to the State of Ohio to fund projects for protection and enhancement of ground water resources, $648,000 to reimburse the State of Ohio for NRD assessment costs, and $745,000 to reimburse the federal government for NRD assessment.

The consent decree also requires the company to restore and enhance 30 acres of wetlands, place an environmental covenant on 25.28 acres of land the company owns, and negotiate Conservation Easements with other landowners to protect an additional 170 acres.

The settlement is in a recently lodged consent decree, which is subject to a 30-day comment period before the judge can approve it. To see DOJ’s news release regarding the settlement, which has a link to access the consent decree https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-us-fish-and-wildlife-service-and-state-ohio-reach-natural-resource-damage