Publication Date 09/21/2010
Source: Business Wire
A federal Judge in Indiana today approved a $4.3 million settlement agreement, ending three years of environmental litigation over cleanup costs for two Evansville sites contaminated with lead and PCBs.
The Evansville Greenway & Remediation Trust filed a lawsuit in 2007 against Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Company (SIGECO), Heritage Coal; Mead Johnson Co., Black Beauty Coal; Squaw Creek Coal, and Mulzer Crushed Stone under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and Indianas Environmental Legal Action statute (ELA) seeking cleanup costs for polluted scrap yards owned by General Waste Products, Inc.
Indianapolis attorney Michael O. Nelson of Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC, which represented the Trust, said, This settlement demonstrates that contaminated eyesores can be transformed into safe, beautiful public parks and productive commercial properties through hard work, perseverance and cooperation.
Michael D. Goodstein, of Hunsucker Goodsteins Washington, DC office, noted, The settlement was made possible after the Court found SIGECO liable, but left for trial how cleanup costs would be apportioned among all responsible parties under the Supreme Courts US v. Burlington Northern decision. The firm also represented General Waste in related coverage disputes with CNA.
The Trust, which is managed by Indianapolis environmental attorney Kathleen G. Lucas, has completed cleanup of one site located on Pigeon Creek, transforming it into the Shirley James Gateway Plaza a link in Evansvilles Greenway Passage, a planned 42-mile bike path which will encircle the City. Remediation of the second scrap yard, located on the Ohio River, is underway.
The Trust claimed that defendants discarded batteries and transformers containing lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at the scrap yards, contaminating both properties. PCBs, which were banned in 1979, can cause cancer and other adverse health effects. Excessive exposure to lead is linked to behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and death.
The settlement agreement, approved by Federal District Court Judge Sarah Evans Barker, ensures the Trust will receive $4,375,000 in cash and in-kind contributions from responsible parties in the next 30 days. The settlement allows the Trust to work with its environmental consultant, Apex Companies, LLC, and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to remediate the second site.
Hunsucker Goodstein & Nelson PC focuses on environmental and insurance coverage/bad faith litigation, and aggrieved investor disputes. The law firm has offices in California, Indiana and Washington, DC.