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Environmental Enforcement Roundup: North America’s Largest Lead Producer to Pay $65 Million in Fines, Enbridge Oil Spill Cleanup

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Justice Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Friday announced that Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, North America’s largest lead producer, has agreed to pay approximately $65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri. The settlement also requires the company to pay a $7 million civil penalty. 

In the wake of the penalties, Doe Run has decided to shutter its aging Herculaneum facility by Dec. 31, 2013, instead of installing costly pollution control technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions necessary to bring the plant in compliance with the Clean Air Act.  The company will also provide an initial $8.14 million in financial assurance to guarantee cleanup work at the facility. 

 The closing of the Herculaneum smelter is expected to result in significant benefits to public health and the environment by annually reducing at least 101,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 22 tons of carbon monoxide, 2.5 tons of volatile organic chemicals, 23 tons of particulate matter, 13.5 tons of nitrogen oxides, 42,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and 30 tons of lead, according to EPA. These reductions will result in significant health and environmental benefits to the Herculaneum and St. Louis areas, which are currently violating federal air standards for lead, ozone and particulate matter, EPA reports. 

 As part of the settlement, Doe Run will pay a civil penalty of $7 million for violating a series of environmental laws, including the federal Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (known as Superfund), and the Missouri Air Conservation Law, Clean Water Law, and Hazardous Waste Management Law.  The penalty will be paid by Doe Run in a $3.5 million payment to the United States, and a $1.5 million payment to the State of Missouri, with an additional $1 million plus interest to be paid to the state each year for the next two years. 

 The settlement also requires Doe Run to establish financial assurance trust funds, at an estimated cost of  between $28 million to $33 million, for the cleanup of Herculaneuman and active or former mining and milling facilities at Brushy Creek, Buick, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum and West Fork.  Doe Run will also take steps to finalize and come into compliance with more stringent Clean Water Act permits at 10 of its facilities, including Herculaneum, Glover, Buick mill, Brushy Creek, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum, West Fork, Mine #35 (Casteel), and Buick Resource Recycling, and will spend an estimated $5.8 million to mitigate discharges along 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek, an impaired waterway near Doe Run’s Fletcher mine and mill facility. 

 In addition to the consent decree, EPA is issuing for public comment a new administrative order that requires Doe Run to sample residential properties within 1.5 miles of  the Herculaneum smelter, and clean up all residential properties with lead soil concentrations of 400 parts per million or higher within that zone. The order requires Doe Run to conduct a final round of soil sampling and residential property cleanups in Herculaneum after the smelter is shut down. 

 EPA is also issuing for public comment a modified May 2007 administrative order addressing issues related to the transportation of lead-bearing materials between Doe Run facilities. The modified order requires Doe Run to spend an estimated $3.2 million to improve the washing and inspection of its trucks, conduct additional sampling of soil from residential properties along the haul routes, provide independent auditing of its washing and inspection activities, and conduct a study to assess and improve its transportation and handling operations.  

EPA’s consent decree is subject to a 30-day public comment period and approval by a court before it becomes final.  Each of the two administrative orders are also subject to similar but separate 30-day public comment periods before they become final. 

EPA to Hold Public Meeting About Enbridge Oil Spill Cleanup

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold a meeting to update residents on the Enbridge oil spill at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, at the Marshall Activity Center, 15325 W. Michigan Ave. EPA and its government partners will brief the community on progress with the cleanup and restoration efforts. An open house will follow the presentations. Residents will have a chance to talk one-on-one with agency representatives and Enbridge staff about specific interests related to the spill and cleanup/restoration..

Time: 6:30 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 14
Place: Marshall Activity Center, 15325 W. Michigan Ave., Marshall, Mich.
Public Information Hotline—800-306-6837

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