JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) – Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster announced on Friday that he has reached a $72 million settlement with a lead producer that allegedly violated several environmental laws.
North America’s largest lead producer, Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, allegedly violated a number of federal environmental laws — including the Missouri Air Conservation Law, Clean Water Law, and Hazardous Waste Management Law — at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri.
Doe Run has agreed to spend approximately $65 million to correct these violations and pay an additional $7 million civil penalty, with half of that amount paid to the United States and half to Missouri.
Additionally, Doe Run will establish trust funds from $28 million to $33 million to clean up facilities at Herculaneum, Brushy Creek, Buick, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum, and West Fork.
“This settlement represents a big win for families who live in Southeast Missouri,” Koster said.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of high levels of lead, and this settlement ensures that Doe Run will take responsible actions to clean up the environment and protect Missourians from dangerous pollution.”
The company will shut down its lead smelter in Herculaneum, Mo., by Dec. 31, 2013, which is expected to result in significant benefits to public health and the environment by reducing at least 42,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and approximately 30 tons of lead per year that had been released into the environment.
The agreement makes it possible for Doe Run to implement newer and cleaner technologies for lead smelting at its other facilities, which will significantly reduce hazardous emissions and the generation of slag.
Doe Run has also agreed to continue its cleanup of contaminated properties in Herculaneum and will perform stream mitigation activities on 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek at a cost of $5.8 million.
They will also contribute $2 million in community projects over the next four years, including clean diesel retrofits, school lab clean outs, school energy efficiency projects and ground source heat pumps.
The company is currently violating federal air standards for lead, ozone, and particulate matter in the Herculaneum and St. Louis areas, Koster alleges.
Koster said that when these pollution controls are installed and operational changes are implemented, reductions in lead and carbon monoxide will result in significant health and environmental benefits in these areas.