Recently in Environmental Disclosure: “20,000 barrels of crude oil were leaked”

As we’ve posted in the past, public companies must generally disclose environmental legal proceedings in various reports to the SEC, and whether or not those proceedings have a material effect on the company’s financial position. Companies may also disclose business risks related to current or pending environmental regulation.

Below is the juiciest stuff we could find that was filed with EDGAR in the past week.

* * *

Central Florida Pipeline Release, Tampa, Florida

On July 22, 2011, KMP’s subsidiary Central Florida Pipeline LLC reported a refined petroleum products release on a section of its 10-inch diameter pipeline near Tampa, Florida. The pipeline carries jet fuel and diesel to Orlando and was carrying jet fuel at the time of the incident. There was no fire and no injuries associated with the incident. KMP immediately began clean up operations in coordination with federal, state and local agencies. The cause of the incident is outside force damage. The incident is under investigation by the PHMSA, U.S. EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

  • EME HOMER CITY GENERATION LP | Form 10-Q | 5/2/2012

New Source Review and Other Litigation

In January 2011, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) filed a complaint in the Western District of Pennsylvania against Homer City, the sale-leaseback owner participants of the Homer City plant, and two prior owners of the Homer City plant. The complaint alleged violations of the Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) and Title V provisions of the Clean Air Act (CAA), as a result of projects in the 1990s performed by prior owners without PSD permits and the subsequent failure to incorporate emissions limitations that meet best available control technology (BACT) into the station’s Title V operating permit. In addition to seeking penalties ranging from $32,500 to $37,500 per violation, per day, the complaint called for an injunction ordering Homer City to install controls sufficient to meet BACT emission rates at all units subject to the complaint and for other remedies. The PADEP, the State of New York and the State of New Jersey intervened in the lawsuit. In October 2011, all of the claims in the US EPA’s lawsuit were dismissed with prejudice. An appeal of the dismissal is pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

On July 26, 2010, a release of crude oil on Line 6B of EEP’s Lakehead System was reported near Marshall, Michigan. EEP estimates that approximately 20,000 barrels of crude oil were leaked at the site, a portion of which reached the Talmadge Creek, a waterway that feeds the Kalamazoo River. The pipelines in the vicinity were shut down, appropriate United States federal, state and local officials were notified, and emergency response crews were dispatched to oversee containment of the released crude oil and cleanup of the affected areas. The released crude oil affected approximately 61 kilometres (38 miles) of area along the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River waterways, including residential areas, businesses, farmland and marshland between Marshall and downstream of Battle Creek, Michigan. The cause of the release remains the subject of an investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and other United States federal and state regulatory agencies.

Pursuant to an administrative order issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the United States Clean Water Act, EEP was directed to clean up the released oil and remediate and restore the affected areas – a process EEP had begun upon discovering the release.

As at December 31, 2010, EEP estimated that before insurance recoveries, and not including fines and penalties, costs of approximately US$550 million ($96 million after-tax net to Enbridge), excluding lost revenue of approximately US$13 million ($2 million after-tax net to Enbridge), would be incurred in connection with this incident. These costs included emergency response, environmental remediation and cleanup activities associated with the crude oil release, as well as potential claims by third parties.

As at December 31, 2011, EEP revised its total estimate for this crude oil release to US$765 million ($129 million after-tax net to Enbridge), an increase of US$215 million ($33 million after-tax net to Enbridge) from December 31, 2010. The changes in estimate are primarily based on a review of costs and commitments incurred , and additional information concerning the reassessment of the overall monitoring area, related cleanup, including submerged oil recovery operations and remediation activities, including the estimated costs related to the additional scope of work set forth in its response to the EPA directive it submitted to the EPA on October 20, 2011. During the fourth quarter of 2011, EEP resubmitted a revised work plan which was approved by the EPA on December 19, 2011.

EEP continues to make progress on the cleanup, remediation and restoration of the areas affected by the Line 6B crude oil release. All of the initiatives EEP undertakes in the monitoring and restoration phases are intended to restore the crude oil release area to the satisfaction of the appropriate regulatory authorities.

Expected losses associated with the Line 6B crude oil release include those costs that are considered probable and that could be reasonably estimated at December 31, 2011. The estimates do not include amounts capitalized or any fines, penalties or claims associated with the release that may later become evident and are before insurance recoveries. Despite the efforts EEP has made to ensure the reasonableness of its estimates, changes to the recorded amounts associated with this release are possible as more reliable information becomes available. There continues to be the potential for EEP to incur additional costs in connection with this crude oil release due to variations in any or all of the cost categories, including modified or revised requirements from regulatory agencies, in addition to fines and penalties as well as expenditures associated with litigation and settlement of claims.

PCB Contamination

We have been working with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) and the EPA, Region I, in connection with certain polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination in the soil beneath a section of cement flooring at our Woodstock, Connecticut facility. In 2000, the majority of the clean-up efforts were completed, and a small amount of residual soil contamination remained. In 2011, after several discussions and proposals with the CT DEEP, we agreed to install a pump and treat system to alleviate further contamination of the ground water. Since inception, we have spent approximately $2.5 million in remediation and monitoring costs related to the PCB soil contamination at this site. We anticipate future costs related to the ground water contamination issue to be de minimis and related to the continued use and maintenance of the pump and treat system now in place at the site.

In addition, during the first quarter of 2010, we discovered PCB contamination in the building at our Woodstock, Connecticut facility, due to it having contained the equipment that was the source of the original PCB soil contamination. Remediation of the contamination within the facility is currently projected to cost between $1.0 million and $2.6 million; therefore, we recorded a liability of $1.0 million related to the building contamination, which represents the low end of the estimated range, as no other amount in the range is more probable at this time.

We believe that these situations will continue for several more years and no time frame for completion can be estimated at the present time.

In April 2010, the Company received a request for information pursuant to Section 308 of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (Clean Water Act) from Region 3 of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (the “EPA”) concerning the Company’s wastewater practices used in its fishing operations at its Reedville, Virginia facility. The Company responded to the request. The Company cannot predict the outcome of the EPA’s review.

In February 2011, the United States Coast Guard conducted inspections of the vessels at the Company’s Reedville, Virginia facility regarding the vessels’ bilge water discharge practices. Based on the results of those inspections and subsequent communications with the Coast Guard, the Company conducted a survey of its Reedville, Virginia fishing fleet to determine compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Following the completion of certain improvements and repairs, the Coast Guard inspected the vessels and all but two were approved for full operations prior to the beginning of the 2011 Atlantic fishing season. The other two vessels were approved for full operations shortly after the beginning of the fishing season and the delay did not materially impact the fleet’s Atlantic fishing operations.

The Company spent approximately $3.0 million during 2011 to make the above improvements and repairs to the Reedville fleet. The Company is evaluating the vessels in its Gulf fleet based on the review of its Reedville vessels. Based on the results of that evaluation, it is likely that the Company will incur additional costs to make improvements and repairs to its Gulf fleet. Also in connection with that evaluation, the Company has made the interim decision for at least the early part of the 2012 fishing season to conduct both its Atlantic and Gulf fishing operations within 12 nautical miles of shore, pending the resolution of a waiver request that the Company has filed with the Coast Guard regarding the use of certain vessel equipment applicable to “ocean-going vessels” (as defined by Coast Guard regulations) that operate beyond the 12 nautical mile limit. This interim 12 nautical mile restriction will limit the Company’s fishing grounds and could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s fish catch, business, results of operations or financial condition.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia is reviewing both the results of the Coast Guard’s inspection of the Reedville fleet and the EPA request for information, and is currently evaluating whether any civil or criminal enforcement action is warranted. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicated that some form of civil and/or criminal disposition is under consideration, but no specific disposition has yet been determined and the Company’s discussions with that Office are ongoing. Depending on the specific details of that disposition, it is possible that the disposition could have an adverse effect on the Company’s business, results of operations or financial condition. During the first three months of 2012, the Company recognized $0.2 million in expenses related to this matter and as of March 31, 2012, the Company has recorded a $0.3 million reserve.

The EPA has issued Notices of Violations (“NOVs”) for our Haverhill and Granite City cokemaking facilities which stem from alleged violations of our air emission operating permits for these facilities. We are currently working in a cooperative manner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to address the allegations. Settlement may require payment of a penalty for alleged past violations as well as undertaking capital projects to improve reliability of the energy recovery systems and enhance environmental performance at the Haverhill and Granite City facilities. As a result of discussions with the EPA, the Company expects these projects to cost approximately $80 million to $100 million and to be carried out over the 2012 through 2016 time period. The majority of the spending is expected to take place from 2013 to 2016, although some spending may occur in 2012 depending on the timing of the settlement. The final cost of the projects will be dependent upon the ultimate outcome of discussions with regulators. At this stage, negotiations are ongoing and the Company is unable to estimate a range of reasonably possible loss. The Company does not believe any probable loss would be material to its financial position, results of operations or cash flows.

  • SunCoke Energy, Inc. | Form 10-Q | 5/2/2012

In addition, the Company has received an NOV from the EPA related to our Indiana Harbor cokemaking facility. After initial discussions with the EPA and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (“IDEM”), resolution of the NOV was postponed by mutual agreement because of ongoing discussions regarding the NOVs at the Haverhill and Granite City cokemaking facilities. In January 2012, the Company began working in a cooperative manner with the EPA, the IDEM and Cokenergy, Inc., an  independent power producer that owns and operates an energy facility, including heat recovery equipment, a flue gas desulfurization system and a power generation plant, that processes hot flue gas from our Indiana Harbor facility to produce steam and electricity and to reduce the sulfur and particulate content of such flue gas, to address the allegations. Settlement may require payment of a penalty for alleged past violations as well as undertaking capital projects to enhance environmental performance. At this time, the Company cannot yet assess any future injunctive relief or potential monetary penalty and any potential future citations. The Company is unable to estimate a range of probable or reasonably possible loss.

  • STANLEY BLACK & DECKER, INC. | Form 10-Q | 5/2/2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board have each initiated administrative proceedings against Black & Decker and certain of its current or former affiliates alleging that Black & Decker and numerous other defendants are responsible to investigate and remediate alleged groundwater contamination in and adjacent to a 160-acre property located in Rialto, California. The EPA and the cities of Colton and Rialto, as well as Goodrich Corporation, also initiated lawsuits against Black & Decker and certain of its former or current affiliates in the Federal District Court for California, Central District alleging similar claims that Black & Decker is liable under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (“CERCLA”), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, and state law for the discharge or release of hazardous substances into the environment and the contamination caused by those alleged releases. The City of Colton also has a companion case in California State court. The City of Riverside has a similar suit in California State Court with similar claims and the same parties. Both of these cases are currently stayed for all purposes. Certain defendants in that case have cross-claims against other defendants and have asserted claims against the State of California. The administrative proceedings and the lawsuits generally allege that West Coast Loading Corporation (“WCLC”), a defunct company that operated in Rialto between 1952 and 1957, and an as yet undefined number of other defendants are responsible for the release of perchlorate and solvents into the groundwater basin, and that Black & Decker and certain of its current or former affiliates are liable as a “successor” of WCLC. The Company believes that neither the facts nor the law support an allegation that Black & Decker is responsible for the contamination and is vigorously contesting these claims.

The EPA has provided to Black & Decker and certain of its current and former affiliates a “Notice of Potential Liability” related to environmental contamination found at the Centredale Manor Restoration Project Superfund site, located in North Providence, Rhode Island. The EPA has discovered a variety of contaminants at the site, including but not limited to, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, and pesticides. The EPA alleged that Black & Decker and certain of its current and former affiliates are liable for site clean-up costs under CERCLA as successors to the liability of Metro-Atlantic, Inc., a former operator at the site, and demanded reimbursement of the EPA’s costs related to this site. The EPA released a Proposed Remedial Action Plan in October 2011, which identified and described the EPA’s preferred remedial alternative for the site. The estimated remediation costs related to this Centredale site (including the EPA’s past costs as well as costs of additional investigation, remediation, and related costs such as EPA’s oversight costs, less escrowed funds contributed by primary potentially responsible parties (PRPs) who have reached settlement agreements with the EPA), which the Company considers to be probable and reasonably estimable, range from approximately $67.4 million to $212.0 million, with no amount within that range representing a more likely outcome until such time as the EPA completes its remedy selection process for the site. The Company’s reserve for this environmental remediation matter of $67.4 million reflects the fact that the EPA considers Metro-Atlantic, Inc. to be a primary source of contamination at the site. The Company has determined that it is likely to contest the EPA’s claims with respect to this site. Further, to the extent that the Company agrees to perform or finance additional remedial activities at this site, it intends to seek participation or contribution from additional PRPs and insurance carriers. As the specific nature of the environmental remediation activities that may be mandated by the EPA at this site have not yet been finally determined, the ultimate remedial costs associated with the site may vary from the amount accrued by the Company at March 31, 2012.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: