Enforcement

Morton International, Inc. Multimedia Settlement

On October 26, 2000, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) entered into a settlement with Morton International Inc. that resolved charges that the chemical company violated several environmental laws at its Moss Point, Miss., facility under a civil settlement and criminal plea agreement. Morton, a wholly owned subsidiary of Rohm and Haas Company based in Philadelphia, agreed to pay a $20 million penalty to be divided equally between the United States and Mississippi under the civil settlement filed in U.S. District Court in Biloxi. This penalty marks the largest-ever civil fine for environmental violations at a single facility.

The civil settlement, filed by the Justice Department on behalf of the EPA and the MDEQ, resolves claims the company violated clean air, clean water and hazardous waste laws. The agreement obligates Morton to perform $16 million worth of projects to enhance the environment. The agreement requires a third-party environmental audit of 23 U. S. chemical facilities previously owned by Morton (and now by Rohm and Haas). To date, the 23 facilities have been audited pursuant to the Consent Decree. Under the settlement, Morton will also complete a comprehensive assessment of the Moss Point facility, determine whether corrective measures are needed to address pollution, and undertake any necessary measures.

In a separate action, Morton pleaded guilty to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. Under a plea agreement, Morton agreed to pay a $2 million criminal penalty for these violations.