LTV Suffers Major Setback in Federal Court Action

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Hotline, Fall 2000

The LTV Corporation, seeking to escape penalties in the Environmental Protection Agency’s suit charging the firm with air quality violations at its late Hazelwood coke plant, suffered a defeat in U. S. District Court this fall.

Judge Robert J. Cindrich on September 29 denied an LTV motion to dismiss the federal case, to which GASP is a party. This, according to William Luneburg, GASP attorney, was “clearly a major victory for the United States.” The company made various procedural contentions, such as the fact that it had already paid fines to Allegheny County for some of the violations at issue. All were denied by Judge Cindrich.

The action against LTV continues. Recently LTV asked GASP to admit or deny whether it has evidence of violations at the plant on hundreds of days prior to its closing. GASP is currently working on its response. The same requests were also sent to the United States and Allegheny County.

During the spring of 2000 GASP responded to LTV’s requests for information about injuries suffered by GASP members as a result of the coke plant’s operations between 1996 and 1998. It did so by giving the information in a form which protected from disclosure (at least prior to trial) the identities of the persons who complained about LTV. GASP also objected and refused to answer some of LTV’s questions.

Luneburg predicted that LTV would continue its aggressive defense in the near future. Another hearing before Judge Cindrich is scheduled soon dealing with LTV’s attempt to obtain testimony from an EPA official and to get responses from the government to its requests for information. LTV’s aggressiveness, predicted Luneburg, is almost certain to result in further requests for information from GASP and its members.

by David Fowler, GASP Board Member