Corteva will pay $3.195 million to settle alleged violations of federal pollution control laws at a Texas plant that’s been closed since an accident killed 4 workers there in 2014.
The facility in La Porte, Texas, never reopened after the workers died when improperly maintained piping released nearly 11,000 kg of methyl mercaptan. The facility manufactured Lannate and Vydate brand carbamate insecticides as part of E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. The property transferred to Corteva after DuPont merged with Dow and then spun off agricultural chemical and seed businesses as Corteva in 2019. Corteva continues to operate a wastewater treatment system on the site for third-party tenant operators, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The settlement covers alleged violations of the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the federal hazardous waste law that occurred while DuPont manufactured chemicals at the facility.
The settlement ensures cleanup of pollution from past operations and proper management of waste from current activities at the site, says Susan Bodine, head of enforcement and compliance assurance at the EPA. The agency announced the settlement with the US Department of Justice and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Half of the settlement payment will go to Texas, the rest to the US Treasury.
The penalty is in addition to another $3 million civil fine E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. agreed to in 2018 to settle alleged violations of the EPA’s chemical accident prevention requirements and another $106,000 penalty from Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board in 2015 issued a report on the incident.
Corteva says it looks forward to completing the actions of the consent agreement.
This story was updated on July 15, 2020, to address the fact that ownership of the La Porte site transferred via E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Co. to Corteva in 2019. Corteva is therefore the parent company involved in the settlement, not the current company commonly called DuPont (DuPont de Nemours, Inc.). The amount of the 2018 penalty paid to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration was also corrected—it was $106,000, not $106,00. Also, the 2018 fine paid to the Environmental Protection Agency was for violations of the chemical accident prevention requirements, not action prevention requirements.