MAC: Mines and Communities

Doe Run - Lead Producer to Pay $7M Fine, Spend $65M on Cleanups

Published by MAC on 2010-10-25
Source: New York Times, ENS (2010-10-11)

Lead Producer to Pay $7M Fine, Spend $65M on Cleanups

By Gabriel Nelson of Greenwire

New York Times

11 October 2010

St. Louis-based Doe Run Resources Corp., the nation's largest lead producer, will pay a $7 million civil penalty and spend about $65 million more to resolve alleged violations of federal pollution laws at the company's facilities in Missouri, U.S. EPA and the Justice Department announced Friday.

The settlement, which was filed in federal court in St. Louis, will require the company to commit an estimated $28 million to $33 million for cleanup in Herculaneum, Mo., and other areas affected by 10 of the company's lead mining, milling and smelting facilities. By the end of 2013, Doe Run plans to shut down its Herculaneum lead smelter, which releases 30 tons of lead into the air each year.

The town, as with much of the area around St. Louis, continues to fall short of federal standards for lead pollution in the air. Along with the settlement, EPA has also proposed an order that would require Doe Run to take soil samples at homes within 1.5 miles of the smelter and clean up any properties with a certain level of lead contamination.

Exposure to the heavy metal is known to cause nervous system damage and developmental problems in children, said Cynthia Giles, EPA's assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance.

"For years families with children near Doe Run's facilities have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins in the environment," Giles said in a statement Friday. "Today's settlement requires Doe Run to take aggressive actions to clean up their act and work to ensure that families living near the company's facilities are protected from lead poisoning and other harmful pollution."

In addition to Missouri state law, Doe Run was accused of violating the federal Clean Air Act; Clean Water Act; Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act; and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, better known as Superfund.

The company recently led a legal challenge to EPA's revision of the national air quality standard for lead, which was changed in 2008 for the first time in 30 years. The new standard of 0.15 micrograms of lead per cubic meter is 10 times stricter than the previous limit.

Though Doe Run argued that the limit was stricter than required to protect public health, a panel of federal judges unanimously sided with EPA in May. The new standard was acceptable because the Clean Air Act allows for the protection of sensitive groups such as children, the court's decision said (Greenwire, June 16).

The new agreement with federal officials "enables the company to address historical and more recent environmental issues, while still providing jobs for our employees, strategic metal to our customers and the $1 billion economic benefit we provide to the region," said Bruce Neil, the company's president and CEO, in a statement.

Doe Run has developed new technology that will allow the company to produce finished lead metal while releasing 99 percent less air pollution, Neil said, and the company is also working to overhaul its exploration methods.

"These new developments, along with the plan to address past issues, demonstrate our commitment to being a viable and responsible business," he said.

Click here (pdf) to read the settlement:
http://www.eenews.net/assets/2010/10/11/document_gw_01.pdf


Doe Run Resources to Pay $7M Penalty, $65M for Compliance Upgrades

Environmental Protection online

11 October 2010

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Justice Department and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources on Oct. 8 announced that Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, North America's largest lead producer, has agreed to spend 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.

"For years families with children near Doe Run's facilities have been exposed to unacceptable levels of lead, one of the most dangerous neurotoxins in the environment," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. "Infants and young children are at the greatest risk from lead exposure, which even at low levels can cause behavioral problems, learning deficits and lowered IQ. [The] settlement requires Doe Run to take aggressive actions to clean up their act and work to ensure that families living near the company's facilities are protected from lead poisoning and other harmful pollution."

"This settlement will reduce lead pollution in the town of Herculaneum and in other southeastern Missouri communities, as well as encourage the development of innovative technology and projects to improve the environment in impacted communities," said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resource Division. "It should also send a message to all companies that handle hazardous waste, such as lead: You must comply with the laws that are intended to protect public health and the environment."

Instead of installing pollution control technologies to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions at its aging Herculaneum lead smelter, Doe Run has made a business decision to comply with its Clean Air Act obligations and shut down of the smelter by Dec 31, 2013. The company will also provide an initial $8.14 million in financial assurance to guarantee cleanup work at the Herculaneum 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. 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.

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 $28 million to $33 million, for the cleanup of Herculaneum and the following active or former mining and milling facilities: 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 on stream mitigation activities along 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek, an impaired waterway near Doe Run's Fletcher mine and mill facility.

The company will also spend $2 million on community mitigation projects over the next four years. At least $1.1 million of this amount will be spent on diesel engine retrofits, school science lab clean outs, school energy efficiency projects, and installations of heat pumps. Other projects, such as the purchase of sulfur dioxide allowances, wastewater infrastructure projects for the City of Herculaneum, or the development and improvement of environmental management systems at Doe Run's facilities may also be included.

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.

The civil judicial 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 subject to similar but separate 30-day public comment periods before they become final.


Lead Giant to Shut Missouri Smelter Early, Pay $72 Million for Violations

Environmental News Service (ENS)

12 October 2010

KANSAS CITY, Kansas - Doe Run Resources Corp. of St. Louis, North America's largest lead producer, will spend $65 million to correct violations of several environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining, milling and smelting facilities in southeast Missouri, federal and state agencies announced Friday.

As part of the settlement, Doe Run will spend an additional $7 million to cover a civil penalty for violating a host of federal environmental laws: the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Emergency Planning and Right-to-Know Act, and the Superfund law, and three Missouri laws: the 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.

"For more than a century, families in Missouri's lead districts have endured one of the most harmful forms of air and water pollution," said U.S. EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks. "Lead's toll on their lives and health has been great, which is why the outcome of this enforcement action is so important."

"We all share common goals for vibrant communities, high-paying local jobs and improved environmental performance," said Bruce Neil, president and chief executive officer of the Doe Run Company. "The agreement enables the company to address historical and more recent environmental issues, while still providing jobs for our employees, strategic metal to our customers and the $1 billion economic benefit we provide to the region."

The Doe Run smelter on the banks of the Mississippi River in Herculaneum, Missouri converts millions of tons of ore into more than 125,000 tons of nearly pure commercial-grade lead every year. In operation since 1982, this is both the nation's largest primary lead smelter and its largest point source for lead emissions, with just over 59 tons of lead released to the air in 2005, according to the National Emissions Inventory of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

But at the end of 2013 Doe Run will shut down its lead smelter at Herculaneum, a town of about 4,000 residents.

Company officials made a business decision to shutter the smelter on December 31, 2013 instead of in 2016 as required by state regulation for sulfur dioxide emissions and instead of installing pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the federal Clean Air Act.

"For more than a year, we've been working with the community of Herculaneum toward repurposing portions of our site in Herculaneum," said Neil. "We've spent nearly $400,000 toward two port feasibility studies, donated land on which a new bridge is being built to access the area, and we believe the location could be an ideal site for a Jefferson County port. A port could provide an estimated 2,000 jobs to the region."

The company will provide an initial $8.14 million in financial assurance to guarantee cleanup work at the Herculaneum facility.

Closing the Herculaneum smelter is expected to result in benefits to public health and the environment by annually reducing air emissions of at least 101,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 42,000 tons of sulfur dioxide, 30 tons of lead, 23 tons of particulate matter, 22 tons of carbon monoxide, 13.5 tons of nitrogen oxides, and 2.5 tons of volatile organic chemicals, according to the U.S. EPA.

The EPA said it expects these reductions to result in "significant health and environmental benefits to the Herculaneum and St. Louis areas," which are currently exceeding federal air standards for lead, ozone and particulate matter.

"Four decades after taking the first steps to remove lead from gasoline, EPA has reached this settlement to keep significant amounts of lead from polluting Missouri's air, land and water. This is a historic milestone, and it could not have happened without the effective, energetic cooperation of Missouri's governor, attorney general and Department of Natural Resources."

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said, "This settlement represents a big win for families who live in Southeast Missouri. 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 settlement also requires Doe Run to establish financial assurance trust funds, at an estimated cost of $28 million to $33 million, for the cleanup of Herculaneum and six active or former mining and milling facilities: Brushy Creek, Buick, Fletcher, Sweetwater, Viburnum and West Fork.

This commitment ensures that financing will be available to fund the cleanup of the smelter property and the six mining and milling sites whenever they are eventually closed.

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,

The company will spend an estimated $5.8 million on stream mitigation activities along 8.5 miles of Bee Fork Creek, an impaired waterway near Doe Run's Fletcher mine and mill facility.

The company will also spend $2 million on community-based mitigation projects to reduce pollution from other sources in southeastern Missouri.

At least $1.1 million of this amount will be spent on diesel engine retrofits, school science lab clean outs, school energy efficiency projects and installations of heat pumps.

Other projects, such as the purchase of sulfur dioxide allowances, wastewater infrastructure projects for the city of Herculaneum, or the development and improvement of environmental management systems at Doe Run's facilities may also be included.

In addition to the consent decree, the EPA is issuing for public comment two administrative orders.

The first administrative order 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 also requires Doe Run to conduct a final round of soil sampling and residential property cleanups in Herculaneum after the smelter is shut down.

The public is also invited to comment on 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.

The civil judicial 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 is subject to similar but separate 30-day public comment periods before they become final.

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