Volume 47, Issue 4 - April 2012


PPG Industries Says Allegheny River Environmental Suit is Without Merit

PennEnvironment of Philadelphia and Sierra Club of San Francisco have filed a suit against PPG Industries of Pittsburgh and the Borough of Ford City, Pa. alleging that the company violated the Clean Water Act and Clean Streams Law by discharging chemicals in the Allegheny River from one its glass plants in Ford City. The suit was filed on March 20 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

“From approximately 1950 to 1970, PPG Industries pumped waste via a pipe system from its Works Number 5 glass manufacturing plant in Ford City, Pa., across the Allegheny River into an area that PPG formerly used as sandstone quarry,” reads a supporting exhibit filed with the complaint. “PPG created three slurry lagoons by constructing a series of earthen containment dikes within the quarry in order to contain the slurry waste.”

The groups allege that the contaminated leachate from the lagoons seeps through fissures in the cliff face and goes into the Allegheny River.

“... The slurry waste in the lagoons and the leachate that emerges from the lagoons contain high levels of contaminants, including arsenic, chromium, lead, manganese, copper, zinc, mercury, ... and semi-volatile organic compounds,” continues the exhibit filed by the plaintiffs. “The lagoons and leachate are also highly caustic, with pH levels reaching as high as 12.69.”

The plaintiffs further allege that “... the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has concluded that the slurry waste discharges ‘pose a significant threat to public health and the environment.’”

Jeremy Neuhart, manager of corporate public relations at PPG, advised USGlass that the allegations are without merit. “PPG has met with counsel for the plaintiffs and has provided them with extensive information about the work PPG has performed to address the conditions at the property that is the subject of the lawsuit, and the Pennsylvania DEP-approved schedule for PPG to develop a final plan for the property,” he says.

He adds, “Although the plaintiffs filed a lawsuit, they have also proposed to hold the litigation in abeyance until after PPG submits its final plan to DEP.”

According to a statement from PPG, company officials believe that the interim control measures that the company installed almost two years ago, as well as the data that have been generated since that time, will enable PPG to develop a final plan that will ensure that the conditions at the property are addressed appropriately.

Eastman Chemical Co. to Acquire Solutia Inc.
Eastman Chemical Co. of Kingsport, Tenn., and Solutia Inc. of St. Louis, have entered into a definitive agreement through which Eastman will acquire Solutia for a sale price of approximately $4.7 billion, according to a joint release from the companies.

The merger creates a company with combined revenues of about $9.3 billion.

Eastman Chemical Co. officials say they consider the acquisition an important step in their strategy to extend the company’s global presence in emerging markets—especially the Asia Pacific market.

“By leveraging infrastructure in the region, Eastman expects to have a compound annual growth rate in Asia Pacific approaching 10 percent for the next several years,” says Tracy Broadwater, corporate communications manager for Eastman.

Currently, Eastman is one of the largest companies in its field with a combined EBITDA margin of approximately 20 percent and an EBITDA of approximately $1.8 billion.

The transaction is expected to close in mid-2012. “Due to the size of this acquisition we expect a great deal of our focus will be spent integrating Solutia into Eastman,” she says. “However, we expect to continue to evaluate appropriate opportunities for expansion on a number of fronts, including emerging markets, access to feedstock, differentiated products or markets and sustainability, which have been Eastman’s key focus areas for M&A [marketing and analysis] opportunities.”

Solutia is a manufacturer of performance materials and specialty chemicals, including polyvinyl butyral interlayers used in laminated glass. It also owns window film manufacturer CPFilms.


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