United States v Saturn Chemical, et al.


Summary: In 2008, Atlantic Legal served as special counsel to a major national law firm in defending a small chemical manufacturing company and its principal against a recovery claim brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. EPA claims it is entitled to recovery costs of approximately $1.3 million. The case involves a Removal Action (RA) conducted by the EPA to remove chemicals that had leaked from four tanks owned by the company at a site leased by the company based on findings of a 1996 environmental report and on the belief that the tanks were ignitable, which would make the chemicals hazardous waste. However, a more recent 1999 report, prepared by the same EPA consultant who had prepared the 1996 report, concluded that the contamination was minimal and was not a risk to health and safety. And, in 2001, the EPA tested the four tanks for hazardous waste and found that they were not ignitable. In accordance with these findings, the site is now not eligible for an RA. In 2004, the EPA found that the tanks were not ignitable, but did contain hazardous waste under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Yet, an independent research group soon found that the EPAs findings were flawed and the tanks were devoid of hazardous waste. Between 1999 and the commencement of EPAs RA, the local town government removed the tanks because the chemical company was no longer using the site. In the course of that operation, the towns contractor damaged the tanks and overturned one of them, causing the release of chemicals. The EPAs RA was motivated by incorrect findings and overstepped lawful grounds. The Foundation defended Saturn Chemical, as it underwent the exorbitant costs of the RA, which ultimately proved to be almost 20 times the original estimate of the cleanup costs, and exceeded the time permitted by federal regulations. The case typifies the ERAs penchant for targeting small business lacking the resources to fight the EPA and its willful ignorance or distortion of the facts in its own record. The matter was settled in terms favorable to Atlantic Legals client.

In 2008, Atlantic Legal served as special counsel to a major national law firm in defending a small chemical manufacturing company and its principal against a recovery claim brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under 107(a) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. EPA claims it is entitled to recovery costs of approximately $1.3 million.

Filed: 2000-01-09