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Fertilizer Plant Reaches $2 Billion Settlement with U.S. Dept. of Justice

A major environmental victory has been won for communities in Florida and Louisiana. Mosaic Fertilizer, one of the largest fertilizer manufacturers of potash and phosphate fertilizers, reached a $2 Billion Settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as other federal and state environmental regulators. This ended a ten-year case initiated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA stated that the company violated the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and other state hazardous waste laws.

Recently the EPA has cracked down on industry-wide hazardous environmental practices amongst fertilizer manufacturing companies. These companies extract phosphorous for fertilizer used on crops, particularly wheat and corn. This process happens when phosphate rock is mined and later processed in plants.

According to the EPA, Mosaic Fertilizer was improperly classifying contaminants and acid wastes by disposing these materials into phosphogypsum stacks during the manufacturing process. Phosphogypsum waste is an unwanted byproduct with traces of radioactivity. If this waste is not properly contained, it poses a dangerous risk to ground and surface water, which in turn endangers the health of humans and the environment.

The settlement includes multiple corrective measures Mosaic must make (called injunctive relief) as well as civil penalties, all totaling over $2 billion in penalties. Injunctive relief requirements include $170 million toward managing the way wastewater is handled to eliminate phosphogypsum stacks that pose threats to the surrounding communities. The company will also set up a $630 million trust fund, which will pay for long-term care for phosphogypsum waste and future closings for plants until the fund reaches $1.8 billion. Civil fines include federal penalties of $5 million, state penalties of $1.55 million in Louisiana and state penalties of $1.45 million in Florida. In addition, Mosaic will complete two environmental projects worth $2.2 million dollars.

If you or a loved one has been impacted by environmental hazards caused by a careless party, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our experienced team of environmental damage lawyers today at Simien & Simien. We will be happy to take your call, answer questions and discuss your claim.

Call (800) 374-8422 today to speak to a representative.