U.S., Texas reach settlement with DuPont, PMNA over alleged environmental violations

(Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality on Thursday announced a settlement with industrial materials maker DuPont and Performance Materials NA to resolve alleged violations of environmental laws at a Texas facility.

Under the settlement agreement, DuPont and PMNA will conduct compliance audits, control benzene emissions and perform other injunctive relief to address violations at the facility.

“Defendants will also pay a $3.1 million civil penalty and attorney’s fees to the State of Texas”, the Justice Department said in a statement.

In a joint complaint filed on Oct. 13, the United States, on behalf of the EPA, and the state of Texas alleged DuPont and PMNA violated hazardous waste, air and water environmental laws at the PMNA Sabine River chemical manufacturing facility in Orange, Texas. The former DuPont facility is now owned and operated by PMNA.

The alleged violations included failure to make hazardous waste determinations, failure to meet land disposal restrictions and unpermitted discharges of process wastewater, among others, the Justice Department said.

“The petrochemical industry must operate in compliance with environmental laws,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division.

“We will continue to hold operators accountable to address pollution from industrial operations that violate the law, such as those at the Sabine River facility, and to enhance public health and the environment, particularly in surrounding communities overburdened by industrial pollution,” Kim added.

The consent decree was lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas on Oct. 13 and is set to be published in the Federal Register with an opportunity for public comment.

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Aurora Ellis)