FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE |
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2002
ENRD (202) 514-2007|
EPA (312) 353-5050
ILLINOIS COMPANY TO PAY U.S. MORE THAN $30 MILLION
TO REIMBURSE FOR SUPERFUND CLEAN UP COSTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – NL Industries will pay the United States more than $30 million to settle a lawsuit resulting from contamination that emanated from a secondary lead smelter the company formerly owned and operated in Granite City, Illinois, the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. Under the proposed settlement, NL Industries will pay $29,780,000 to the Superfund to reimburse cleanup costs incurred by the government at the site and an additional $1 million in civil penalties for failing to comply with a 1990 EPA order that directed responsible parties to conduct the site cleanup.
"Today's settlement reflects our strong commitment to recover costs that the United States incurs in cleaning up hazardous substances from those responsible for the contamination. Replenishing the Superfund, through cost recovery settlements or litigation, is vital to ensure that resources are available to address threats posed by releases of hazardous substances," said Thomas L. Sansonetti, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.
"This settlement is an important milestone in closing out a large-scale cleanup that lasted many years," said EPA Region 5 Administrator Tom Skinner. "While the case was proceeding, more than 1,500 residential yards and several local parks were cleaned up, and a 250,000-ton slag pile was safely contained."
Today's NL Industries settlement, with a total value of $30,780,000, represents the second major agreement to recoup government expenses at the NL Taracorp Superfund site. Previously, in 1998, six of the defendants in the case agreed to take over and complete $22 million in remaining cleanup work that EPA had already begun work on.
These same six defendants -- Allied-Signal, Inc., Exide Corporation, General Battery Corporation, GNB Technologies, Inc., Johnson Controls and Lucent Technologies, Inc. – also committed to reimburse at least another $8.97 million incurred by the United States in the cleanup effort at the site, to pay a $400,000 civil penalty for violation of EPA's 1990 order and to fund a $2 million lead paint abatement program in homes near the site. A settlement resolving the government's claims against those six parties is currently before the district court for approval. Taken together, the two major proposed settlements and related site work account for more than $60 million in cleanup activity at the Granite City site.
Cleanup work has largely been completed at the site. Operation and maintenance activities for the selected remedy will continue for at least 30 years.
The settlement was filed today with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.