Second Pollution claim against Giant

Second Pollution claim against Giant
Published: 16 May 2006

The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that the Union has issued a second notice of intent to sue letter to Giant Cement Company, Giant Resource Recovery and their parent company, Giant Cement Holding, Inc. The USW alleges the companies failed to report the release of certain chemicals into the environment in 2002 and 2003 as required under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act (EPCRA).

"Our investigation of Giant’s environmental record, including review of the Risk Management Plans submitted by Giant, indicate that the company has repeatedly failed to report the release of chemicals at the Harleyville facility," said Richard Thomas, USW Representative. "We believe these ongoing EPCRA violations are only part of a larger, corporate-wide pattern of disregard for laws governing health, safety and the environment. This company has to be held accountable."

After issuing a previous notice in January of this year, the USW filed a complaint on April 27 in the Charleston Division of the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina for similar alleged EPCRA violations for the year 2004. According to that complaint, Giant failed to submit Toxic Chemical Release Forms, otherwise known as Form R Reports, for at least six chemicals that were used at the facility.

According to the federal statute, a court may assess $27,500 per day for each violation after January 30, 1997, through March 15, 2004, and $32,500 per day for each violation thereafter. Giant’s potential liability for the violations alleged by the USW now totals more than $280 million, plus the additional cost of attorneys and expert fees incurred by the USW.

The USW has released a 10-page pamphlet titled, "You Should Know," which provides information on numerous environmental violations at Giant facilities. The pamphlet also provides a phone number to the United States Environmental Protection Agency for citizens to call and demand an investigation of Giant’s operations around the country, which manage and burn millions of gallons of hazardous waste annually.