FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1997

ENR (202) 514-2008 TDD (202) 514-1888

U.S., LOUISIANA SECURE $35 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH TWO COMPANIES TO CLEAN UP HAZARDOUS WASTE AND REOPEN INCINERATOR WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Marine Shale Processors, owner and operator of a Louisiana hazardous waste incinerator, today agreed to pay more than $10 million to settle federal and state allegations it incinerated hazardous waste without a permit and planned to sell the contaminated ash as fill material to the public. A second company, GTX Inc., will spend $25 million to buy and upgrade the incinerator, and clean up the contaminated ash that remains in Morgan City, near the central coast of Louisiana. Marine Shale, located in Morgan City, was permitted by the state of Louisiana in 1985 to process non-hazardous oilfield wastes. The company then began to burn hundreds of different hazardous wastes, and attempted to sell the metal-laden residue as fill material to the public for $1 a ton. As part of the agreement, GTX Inc., will purchase Marine Shale's incinerator and clean up about 350,000 tons of contaminated ash remaining in Morgan City, at an estimated cost of $15 million. GTX will be allowed to reopen the facility as long as it obtains all of the environmental permits required to operate a hazardous waste incinerator. GTX also will invest $10 million to upgrade the plant's pollution control equipment, which will result in cleaner air and water in the area. Once GTX reopens the incinerator, it will bring all of the combustion ash it produces to a new state-of-the-art disposal facility. "This settlement is a victory for the environment and the people of Louisiana," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "Because of close federal and state cooperation, the contamination Marine Shale spread around Morgan City will be cleaned up, and the plant put to safe, productive use." "This is an important settlement citizens of Morgan City," said Acting Jerry Clifford. "It provides for the thousands of tons of hazardous waste, settlement." for the environment and EPA Regional Administrator proper disposal of not addressed before this

"The case against Marine Shale is itself compelling evidence of the U.S. Department of Justice's and my office's dedication to the elimination of the continuing specter of hazardous waste disposal and unnecessary pollution of our land and water by industry," said Eddie J. Jordan Jr., United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana. "This settlement will serve a critical three-fold purpose: First, to exact an appropriate price from Marine Shale Processors for their contribution to pollution; secondly, to help deter other companies from violating our environment; and finally, to effect necessary inroads toward reversal of these environmental damages." In 1990, the federal government and Louisiana sued Marine Shale over whether the company could distribute its combustion residue as a recycled product. The federal and state governments alleged that Marine Shale's recycling claim was a sham, and that the facility had no permit to treat hazardous waste. They also alleged Marine Shale violated federal clean air and clean water laws as well as hazardous waste regulations. After a string of rulings by the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the federal government's arguments, the Environmental Protection Agency shut down Marine Shale's Morgan City incinerator. The settlement was lodged today by the Justice Department in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Louisiana. Under the agreement, Marine Shale will pay more than $10 million in civil penalties, with more than $2.75 million of that going to Louisiana. The settlement also bars the former owners of Marine Shale, who are part owners of GTX, from controlling the new company or having any control over operation of the incinerator. Marine Shale's former top managers also are prohibited from participating in any environmental compliance or permitting matters. The proposed settlement will be published in the Federal Register for a 30 day period of public comment. Comments should be addressed to the U.S. Department of Justice, Environment and Natural Resources Division, Washington, D.C. 20530. ### 97-379