2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

In press releases issued April 2, 2024, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Texas Attorney General (AG) announced settlement with Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) of claims for natural resource damages (NRD) resulting from the 2019 fire at ITC’s facility in Deer Park, Texas.
Releases from Fire
According to DOJ, releases of petrochemical products, firefighting water, and foam caused habitat damage and “lost recreational opportunities in the Deer Park area, including temporary closures of multiple state, county and city parks and the Lynchburg Ferry, as well as the cancelation of an annual historical reenactment at San Jacinto State Park.”
NRD Claims
DOJ and the AG brought the NRD claims on behalf of federal natural resource trustees (the United States Department of the Interior through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the United States Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and State trustees (the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas General Land Office).
Settlement to Fund Restoration Plan
ITC had already paid $1 million to reimburse the trustees for their assessment costs and $5.25 million to reimburse the United States for costs in responding to releases. Under the settlement, ITC will pay an additional $6.645 million to compensate the public for NRD and related agency costs.

Both press releases commit the federal and State trustees to work together to develop a restoration plan using the funds remaining after cost reimbursement; the plan will be subject to public comment.

The terms of the settlement are in a proposed consent decree, which is subject to a 30-day public comment period under both federal and State law.

To see the press releases https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/intercontinental-terminals-company-pay-over-66-million-injuries-natural-resources-resulting and https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/attorney-general-ken-paxton-announces-66-million-settlement-intercontinental-terminals-company

To see the proposed consent decree https://www.justice.gov/enrd/consent-decree/us-et-al-v-intercontinental-terminals-company-llc