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U.S. EPA DISMISSES CASMALIA LAWSUIT; MOVES TOWARD CLEANUP PACT
Release Date: 4/24/1996
Contact Information: Lois Grunwald, (415) 744-1588
(San Francisco)-- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), state of California, and Santa Barbara County have dropped 1991 lawsuits against Kenneth Hunter, Jr.; Casmalia Resources; and Hunter Resources. Dropping its lawsuit will provide U.S. EPA with greater flexibility in pursuing Kenneth Hunter Jr. and other potential responsible parties.
The legal move is being taken now because U.S. EPA anticipates reaching a consent agreement with other responsible parties to help clean up the defunct Casmalia Resources hazardous waste disposal facility near Santa Maria, Calif.
"This does not mean that Kenneth Hunter, Jr. is off the hook," said Laura Yoshii, acting director of hazardous waste management for U.S. EPA's western region. "We're keeping open the option of further legal action against Mr. Hunter."
Apart from the 1991 lawsuit, U.S. EPA continues to pursue Mr. Hunter and his companies to ensure that they contribute to the long-term control of contamination at the 254-acre site. The dismissal allows U.S. EPA to re-file the same lawsuit, if necessary, or file new lawsuits against them in the future.
U.S. EPA's 1991 lawsuit sought to order Hunter and his companies to take specific cleanup actions at the Casmalia Resources site. The anticipated consent agreement, by contrast, will involve many more responsible parties. The agreement is now being negotiated among members of the Casmalia Steering Committee, a group of about 50 of the parties responsible for depositing large volumes of hazardous waste at the site.
The consent agreement will provide a long-term plan for the control and closure of the site. U.S. EPA's first priority for the site has been to initiate closure work as quickly as practicable through this consent decree. Then, U.S. EPA plans to obtain additional monies or work commitments not only from Mr. Hunter and his companies, but also from the estimated 15,000 remaining responsible parties.
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