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Southern Wood Piedmont Company Settles Financial Assurance Claims

Release Date: 01/23/2012
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, Jones.enesta@epa.gov, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355 Stacy Kika, Kika.stacy@epa.gov, 202-564-0906, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Southern Wood Piedmont Company and its parent company, Rayonier Inc., have agreed to pay a $317,000 penalty to resolve violations of hazardous waste financial assurance requirements and have obtained more than $41.7 million in financial assurance. Financial assurance protects public health and the environment by ensuring that financial resources are available to properly close and clean up facilities in the event that an owner or operator defaults on its closure, post-closure, or cleanup obligations under environmental laws.

“EPA is committed to bringing hazardous waste facilities into compliance with financial assurance requirements that prevent shifting future cleanup costs onto taxpayers,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s settlement will reduce the likelihood of improper handling of hazardous waste and ensure that environmental damage at these facilities can be properly cleaned up.”

On February 4, 2010, EPA sent a notice of violation to Southern Wood Piedmont Company notifying the company that its hazardous waste facilities were not in compliance with applicable financial assurance requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and it needed to obtain qualifying financial assurance for these obligations.

Southern Wood Piedmont Company also had inadequate RCRA financial assurance coverage at a facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. not covered by EPA’s administrative agreement. In 2010, EPA worked with Tennessee to ensure that Southern Wood Piedmont Company obtained an additional $1.6 million in financial assurance for that facility.

Southern Wood Piedmont Company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rayonier, Inc., a global forest products company, involved in the ownership, leasing, and management of forest resources and related real estate, and the production of performance fibers.

More information on the settlement:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/civil/rcra/swp.html