2020 Environmental Real Estate Issues

EPA and the State of Louisiana alleged a company violated the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) by failing to properly identify and manage certain waste streams as hazardous waste. According to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) news release announcing the settlement, the company agreed to a civil penalty of $1.5 million; it also must appropriately close its facility and provide financial assurance of $84 million to secure the closure.

Waste in Piles and Impoundments
In attempting to manage the wastes generated at its manufacturing facility, the company deposited material in large piles (some over 100 acres and over 200 feet high) and stored acidic wastewaters in those piles and in surface impoundments. The company is closing those piles and impoundments as part of its cessation of operations.

Failure to Estimate Closure Costs
EPA and the State alleged that RCRA required the company to estimate the costs to close the piles and impoundments and to provide financial assurance to secure the closure. The company’s failure to make the estimate and provide the financial assurance were some of the key allegations against it.

The proposed settlement will be in a Consent Decree; a draft Consent Decree will be filed in federal court and subject to a thirty-day comment period.

To see DOJ’s news release, which will provide a link to the proposed Consent Decree https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/settlement-pcs-nitrogen-fertilizer-require-treatment-more-billion-pounds-hazardous-waste