On October 19, Ohio Attorney General (AG) Dave Yost filed a joint motion to enter into a consent order with two Columbus, OH properties, Garrison Southfield Park, LLC, and Olymbec USA LLC, settling claims that Garrison and Olymbec were in violation of Ohio’s hazardous waste pollution control laws. The consent order requires the two property owners to pay a $250,000 civil penalty and properly close the cleaned-up sites.
Yost filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief and civil penalties against Garrison and Olymbec over hazardous glass that Closed Loop Refining and Recovery Inc. and Closed Loop Glass Solutions LLC allegedly accumulated at their properties from 2012 until 2016. According to the complaint, Closed Loop operated two glass recycling facilities at the Garrison and Olymbec properties from 2012 to 2016. At those two properties, Closed Loop took in lead-containing cathode ray tube (CRT) glass, purportedly to recycle and ship the materials off-site. However, by 2015, Closed Loop had amassed millions of pounds of the glass — which is a hazardous waste — without recycling or shipping the materials off-site. In 2016, Closed Loop suddenly ceased all operations at the properties, leaving behind intact CRTs and broken, lead-containing glass. At the written request of the director of environmental protection, the AG brought the action against Garrison and Olymbec, as well as the Closed Loop companies, to enforce Ohio’s hazardous waste laws under Ohio Revised Code Chapter 3734 and the rules adopted thereunder. The AG’s claims against the Closed Loop companies remain pending. Garrison and Olymbec are pursuing claims against dozens of potentially responsible parties over the hazardous waste, alleging Closed Loop ran a fraudulent recycling operation.
The consent order requires Garrison and Olymbec to fully comply with all of Ohio’s hazardous waste laws governing the operation of the two sites. The defendants have already prepared closure plans to address the violations alleged in the complaint, which will require approval by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Within 30 days of receipt of notice of approval by the Ohio EPA, the defendants will be required to implement the plans, either as originally submitted, revised, or as revised and modified. The defendants will be required to amend the approved closure plans whenever (i) changes in operating plans or facility design impact the plans, or the expected year of closure changes; or (ii) if unexpected events occur when conducting partial or final closure activities that result in the need to modify the plans. Within 30 days of completion of closure, each defendant must submit a certification of closure to Ohio EPA, as well as a survey plat.
Why It Matters
Emphasis on the environment has been an emerging trend with state AGs over the past several years, particularly given the focus on environmental policy initiatives under the current administration. While prioritization of environmental protections has been most common among Democratic AGs, Republican AGs like Yost have demonstrated that AG actions in the environmental space do not always track party lines. With increased pressure to minimize environmental impact, companies should expect that state AGs from both parties will continue to pursue related issues and, accordingly, be mindful of environmental compliance.
Troutman Pepper State Attorneys General Team
|Ashley Taylor – Co-leader and Firm Vice Chair
Ashley is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. He focuses primarily on federal and state government regulatory and enforcement matters involving state attorneys general, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Drawing upon his experience as a deputy attorney general, Ashley has developed an extensive consumer practice with regard to the consumer financial services industry.
|Clay Friedman – Co-leader
Clay is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group and co-leader of the State Attorneys General practice. Informed by nearly a decade in a state attorneys general office, and more than 25 years in private practice, Clay spends much of his time representing clients in singular or multistate regulatory actions. Clay has repeatedly led teams before all 50 state attorneys general and also handles matters with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other local, state and federal agencies.
Judy is a partner in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy and Enforcement (RISE) practice, based in the Richmond office. She brings experience serving as chair and commissioner of the Virginia State Corporate Commission (VSCC) from 2006 through 2022, which includes regulating the utilities, insurance, banking, and securities industries. She also served as Virginia’s attorney general from 2005-2006.
Stephen represents clients interacting with, and being investigated by, state attorneys general and other enforcement bodies, including the CFPB and FTC, as well as clients involved with litigation, particularly in heavily regulated industries.
A former deputy attorney general of New York, Avi applies his experience in bet-the-company matters, representing clients in criminal and civil investigations and enforcement actions before state and federal regulators, prosecutors and enforcement agencies.
Michael handles high-profile state attorneys general, FTC, and CFPB investigations by advising clients through these complex government inquiries. He assists clients through the entire life cycle of investigations, from regulatory enforcement through formal litigation.
Tim is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, with a primary focus on financial services litigation.
Chris represents clients in regulatory, civil and criminal investigations and litigation. In his practice, Chris regularly employs his prior regulatory experience to benefit clients who are interacting with and being investigated by state attorneys general.
Natalia is an associate in the firm’s business litigation practice. She recently received her J.D from the University of California, Davis School of Law.
Namrata is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group, based in the Washington, D.C. office. Her work includes advising clients in regulatory investigations and compliance matters, in addition to representing clients in civil litigation matters.
Michael is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy, and Enforcement Practice Group. Based out of the firm’s Boston office, Mike has deep experience in litigation, investigations, and other regulatory matters involving state-level regulators and state attorneys general.
Susan is an associate in the firm’s Consumer Financial Services Practice Group, and focuses her practice on consumer financial services matters. She has defended several of the nation’s largest and most influential financial institutions in individual and class action litigation involving the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and other consumer privacy statutes. Susan also represents banks, fintechs, and financial services companies in connection with regulatory examinations and investigations brought by the CFPB, state attorneys general, and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation.
John represents clients in a wide variety of general and complex litigation matters, shareholder disputes, products liability, and privacy claims.
Whitney is an attorney in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement (RISE) Practice Group. She represents clients facing state and federal regulatory investigations and enforcement actions, as well as related civil litigation.
Trey is an associate in the firm’s Regulatory Investigations, Strategy + Enforcement practice. His experience includes serving as a summer associate at the firm in 2021.
An experienced litigator, Daniel advises and represents regional, national and international companies, financial institutions and insurers in all facets of business, complex commercial and insurance coverage litigation. He is committed to working with his clients to find creative solutions to meet their needs.
Stephanie is Troutman Pepper’s senior government relations manager in the state attorneys general department.