This Week in Environmental Disclosure

As we’ve posted in the past, public companies must generally disclose environmental legal proceedings in their annual, quarterly, and current reports to the SEC, and whether or not those proceedings have a material effect on the company’s financial position. Today we’ve pulled some disclosures of environmental liabilities from recent filings of interest.

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In December 2005, the EPA notified the Company that it considers the Company a potentially responsible party (“PRP”) with respect to contamination at two Superfund sites in upstate New York. The sites were used as landfills for process wastes generated by a glue manufacturer, which acquired tannery wastes from several tanners, allegedly including the Company’s Whitehall tannery, for use as raw materials in the gluemaking process. The Company has no records indicating that it ever provided raw materials to the gluemaking operation and has not been able to establish whether the EPA’s substantive allegations are accurate. The Company, together with other tannery PRPs, has entered into cost sharing agreements and Consent Decrees with the EPA with respect to both sites. Based upon the current estimates of the cost of remediation, the Company’s share is expected to be less than $250,000 in total for the two sites. While there is no assurance that the Company’s share of the actual cost of remediation will not exceed the estimate, the Company does not presently expect that its aggregate exposure with respect to these two landfill sites will have a material adverse effect on its financial condition or results of operations.

 

In January 2006, the Company received a request for information pursuant to Section 308 of the Clean Water Act from Region 3 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) concerning storm water discharge practices in connection with its homebuilding projects in the states that comprise EPA Region 3. The Company provided information to the EPA pursuant to the request. The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has now assumed responsibility for the oversight of this matter and has alleged that the Company has violated regulatory requirements applicable to storm water discharges and that it may seek injunctive relief and/or civil penalties. The Company is now engaged in settlement discussions with representatives from the DOJ and the EPA.

 

  • C&D TECHNOLOGIES INC | Form 10-Q | 9/7/2011

Pursuant to a 1996 Site Participation Agreement, as later amended in 2000, the Company and several other potentially responsible parties (“PRP”s) agreed upon a cost sharing allocation for performance of remedial activities required by the United States EPA Administrative Order Consent Decree entered for the design and remediation phases at the former NL Industries, Inc. (“NL”) site in Pedricktown, New Jersey, Third Party Facility. In April 2002, one of the original PRPs, Exide Technologies (“Exide”), filed for relief under Chapter 11 of Title 11 of the United States Code. In August 2002, Exide notified the other PRPs that it would no longer be taking an active role in any further action at the site and discontinued its financial participation, resulting in a pro rata increase in the cost participation of the other PRPs, including the Company, for which the Company’s allocated share rose from 5.25% to 7.79%.

In August 2002, the Company was notified of its involvement as a PRP at NL’s Atlanta, Northside Drive Superfund site. NL and Norfolk Southern Railway Company have been conducting a removal action on the site, preliminary to remediation. The Company, along with other PRPs, continues to negotiate with NL at this site regarding the Company’s share of the allocated liability.

[…]

In February 2005, the Company received a request from the EPA to conduct exploratory testing to determine if the historical municipal landfill located on the Company’s Attica, Indiana, property is the source of elevated levels of trichloroethylene detected in two city wells downgradient of the Company’s property. In 2009, EPA determined that the impact to the two city wells was from sources unrelated to the Company’s property. The EPA also advised that it believes the former landfill is subject to remediation under the RCRA corrective action program. The Company conducted testing in accordance with an investigation work plan and submitted the test results to the EPA. The EPA thereafter notified the Company that they also wanted the Company to embark upon a more comprehensive RCRA investigation to determine whether there have been any releases of other hazardous waste constituents from its Attica facility and, if so, to determine what corrective measure may be appropriate. In January 2007, the Company agreed to an Administrative Order on Consent with EPA to investigate, and remediate if necessary, site conditions at the facility. The Company’s investigation revealed lead contamination in one area and chlorinated solvent contamination in another area, both in soil and groundwater. The Company has submitted work plans to the EPA for remediation of the lead and chlorinated solvent contamination. The Company has timely complied with all investigative and remedial actions required by EPA.

 

  • AGILENT TECHNOLOGIES INC | Form 10-Q | 9/7/2011

As part of our acquisition of Varian, we assumed the liabilities of Varian, including Varian’s costs and potential liabilities for environmental matters. One such cost is our obligation, along with the obligation of Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (“VSEA”) (under the terms of a Distribution Agreement between Varian, VSEA and Varian Medical Systems, Inc. (“VMS”)) to each indemnify VMS for one-third of certain costs (after adjusting for any insurance proceeds and tax benefits recognized or realized by VMS for such costs) relating to (a) environmental investigation, monitoring and/or remediation activities at certain facilities previously operated by Varian Associates, Inc. (“VAI”) and third-party claims made in connection with environmental conditions at those facilities, and (b) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or third-party claims alleging that VAI or VMS is a potentially responsible party under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (“CERCLA”) in connection with certain sites to which VAI allegedly shipped manufacturing waste for recycling, treatment or disposal (the “CERCLA sites”). With respect to the facilities formerly operated by VAI, VMS is overseeing the environmental investigation, monitoring and/or remediation activities, in most cases under the direction of, or in consultation with, federal, state and/or local agencies, and handling third-party claims. VMS is also handling claims relating to the CERCLA sites. Although any ultimate liability arising from environmental- related matters could result in significant expenditures that, if aggregated and assumed to occur within a single fiscal year, could be material to our financial statements, the likelihood of such occurrence is considered remote. Based on information currently available and our best assessment of the ultimate amount and timing of environmental-related events, management believes that the costs of environmental-related matters are not reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.

 

In September 2003, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) issued a directive to approximately 30 companies, including Franklin-Burlington Plastics, Inc., a subsidiary of the Company (“Franklin-Burlington”), to undertake an assessment of natural resource damage and perform interim restoration of the Lower Passaic River, a 17-mile stretch of the Passaic River in northern New Jersey. The directive, insofar as it relates to the Company and its subsidiary, pertains to the Company’s plastic resin manufacturing facility in Kearny, New Jersey, located adjacent to the Lower Passaic River. The Company acquired the facility in 1986, when it purchased the stock of the facility’s former owner, Franklin Plastics Corp. The Company acquired all of Franklin Plastics Corp.’s environmental liabilities as part of the acquisition.

Also in 2003, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) requested that companies located in the area of the Lower Passaic River, including Franklin-Burlington, cooperate in an investigation of contamination of the Lower Passaic River. In response, the Company and approximately 70 other companies (collectively, the “Cooperating Parties”) agreed, pursuant to an Administrative Order of Consent with the USEPA, to assume responsibility for completing a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (“RIFS”) of the Lower Passaic River. The RIFS is currently estimated to cost approximately $85 million to complete (in addition to USEPA oversight costs) and is currently expected to be completed by late 2012 or early 2013. However, the RIFS costs are exclusive of any costs that may ultimately be required to remediate the Lower Passaic River area being studied or costs associated with natural resource damages that may be assessed. By agreeing to bear a portion of the cost of the RIFS, the Company did not admit to or agree to bear any such remediation or natural resource damage costs. In 2007, the USEPA issued a draft study that evaluated nine alternatives for early remedial action of a portion of the Lower Passaic River. The estimated cost of the alternatives ranged from $900 million to $2.3 billion. The Cooperating Parties provided comments to the USEPA regarding this draft study and to date the USEPA has not taken further action. Given that the USEPA has not finalized its study and that the RIFS is still ongoing, the Company does not believe that remedial costs can be reliably estimated at this time.

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