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United States v. Seymour Recycling Corp.

ELR Citation: 13 ELR 20195
Nos. No. IP-80-457-C, 554 F. Supp. 1334/18 ERC 1944/(S.D. Ind., 12/15/1982) Consent decree approved

The court approves, with minor modification, the proposed consent decree between the Environmental Protection Agency, the State of Indiana, and 24 companies that provides for the surface cleanup of the Seymour Recycling site in Indiana.The court finds that the decree is not only legal, but serves to encourage compliance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (FWPCA). After noting that there were no objections to the fairness of the decree with respect to the rights and obligations of the consenting parties, the court finds that the decree is not unfair to companies not parties to the decree who shipped 50 percent of the hazardous waste to the site and are being asked, in separate negotiations with the federal government, collectively to pay $15 million for groundwater cleanup at the site. The fact that the total sum of the "cash out" proposal to those companies is greater than the sum being paid by the consenting parties does not render the decree unfair to the nonconsenting companies. In addition, acceptance of the "cash out" proposal by at least 140 of the approximately 300 companies is evidence of the fairness of that proposal.

Next, the court finds that the decree is reasonable, based upon (1) the need to expeditiously abate the hazardous conditions at the site, (2) the unavailability of any other plan to accomplish a prompt surface cleanup, (3) the technical adequacy of the cleanup plan, (4) the fact that the decree furthers the goals of CERCLA, RCRA, and the FWPCA, and (5) the long-range public interest in settling hazardous waste cases. Therefore, the court approves the consent decree as proposed, subject to a modification in Paragraph XI to require the companies to preserve, "pending further Court order," records and documents relating to Seymour Recycling Corporation

Counsel are listed at 13 ELR 20192.