The Kentucky Division of Waste Management (DWM) will meet with the public to discuss the status of the on-going environmental investigation at the former Federal Mogul facility located at 2640 Old Gallatin Road., Scottsville. The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2015, at 6 p.m. CST and will be held at the Allen County Courthouse located at 201 Main St., Scottsville.

Federal Mogul’s corporate predecessors started manufacturing operations at this location in the early 1960s, including metal cleaning, plating, and painting. The plant’s operations generated large quantities of chlorinated waste solvents, paint sludge, and other hazardous wastes. Spent chlorinated solvents and other chemical wastes were dumped in crude earthen pits and buried steel drums “over an extended period of time.”

Federal Mogul finally excavated and removed wastes disposed in the pits in June 2005 under the terms of a 1991 Agreed Order with the State. In June 2009, Federal Mogul installed an interim groundwater pump and treat system and the system started operating in July 2009, or more than 40 years after chlorinated waste solvents and sludge wastes were dumped into the unlined pits.

KDWM is currently coordinating on-going studies stemming from the historical release of chlorinated solvents that were in use beginning in the early 1960s by the former occupant, Scotscraft Inc., in the manufacturing of curtain rods. The company discontinued the process in 1981. As part of the investigation by DWM, it was found that during the 1970s plating waste and solvents had been disposed of in unlined earthen trenches located behind the facility.

Despite a RCRA Permit for the facility, the wastes sat in the ground for more than four decades. To absolutely no surprise, chlorinated solvents leached out of the degraded drums and migrated into the Karst geology. What was left of the waste materials in grossly degraded drums and around the trenches were removed from onsite trenches and properly disposed of offsite as a hazardous waste in 2005.

Nothing has yet been done to address the chlorinated solvent wastes that migrated offsite and the chlorinated wastes that are still in the karst geology.  Chlorinated solvents have physical and chemical properties that make this class of compounds particularly likely to cause groundwater contamination. The high densities and low viscosities of chlorinated solvents allow them to move readily downward as a DNAPL through the subsurface due to gravity.

The same properties that make chlorinated solvents potent ground-water contaminants make them difficult to locate or remove once they enter the ground-water system. Nowhere is this truer than in Karst settings. The former Federal Mogul plant is, of course, located in a Karst area of Kentucky. Spent chlorinated solvents generally enter the subsurface environment as DNAPL and migrate downward and laterally until local conditions favor their accumulation (Schwille, 1988; Cohen and Mercer, 1993; Pankow and Cherry, 1996). 

Current investigations involve the collection of surface water, groundwater, soil and air samples both on-site and offsite. Once the field investigations are complete, a remedial plan will be developed to address levels of contamination that pose a risk to human health or the environment.

The Kentucky Court of Appeals today upheld a $3.425-million jury verdict awarded to a Boone County man against the Indiana Insurance Company in an insurance bad-faith action that was tried in Campbell County Circuit in 2012.

In October 2012, a jury in Campbell Circuit Court awarded compensatory and punitive damages against the company for violating the Kentucky Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act, the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act, and breaching the insurance contract with its policyholder, James Demetre.

Indiana Insurance appealed jury verdict to the Court of Appeals, which unanimously upheld the jury’s decision in a decision released today. In its decision, the Court of Appeals held that the jury had ample evidence to support its decision that Indiana Insurance’s conduct toward Demetre violated Kentucky statutory and common law, making “the peace of mind Demetre bargained for in procuring insurance … merely illusory.”

“We appreciate the thorough legal analysis conducted by the Court of Appeals in examining this case and upholding the jury verdict against Indiana Insurance,” said Jeffrey Sanders, who represented Demetre in the legal action. “We think the jury decision, coupled with this appellate decision, sends a clear message to the insurance industry in Kentucky that you must treat your policyholders fairly and in good faith or you will be held accountable under Kentucky law.”

The case arose from property that Demetre and his wife acquired in Newport, which they insured with Indiana Insurance. The property, which has been vacant for 50 years, formerly housed a gasoline station. However, the station closed in 1962 and its underground storage tanks were removed in 1998.

In 2009, a family living near this property sued Demetre, alleging that petroleum fumes were flowing into their house from his property. The family claimed personal injuries and property damages and demanded that Demetre pay $10 million in damages.

After Demetre turned the claim over to Indiana Insurance, instead of investigating the Demetre’s claim, the insurance company sued him, claiming it had no responsibility to cover the claim. Demetre then hired Sanders, who fought with the insurance company for more than three years in an effort to compel it to cover the claim.

The jury awarded Demetre $925,000 in compensatory damages for emotional pain and suffering, stress, worry, anxiety, and mental anguish. At trial, Demetre testified that his experience was a “four-year nightmare” and told the jury about the stress and anxiety he suffered at the hands of his own insurance company.

The jury also awarded Demetre $2.5 million in punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded to punish defendants who act with reckless or wanton disregard for the safety, security, rights, and well-being of others.

Sanders tried the case with his brother, Robert E. Sanders. Other members of the trial team were Justin Sanders, Matt Nakajima, Irene Hartley, and Mary O’Neill. The expert witness who testified for Demetre at trial was Erlanger attorney Carl Grayson.

About Jeffrey M. Sanders and Jeffrey M. Sanders, PLLC

Jeffrey M. Sanders has been practicing law for 27 years. He is a civil trial lawyer whose primary practice areas are environmental law and insurance bad faith. He is a 1980 graduate of Centre College and a 1987 graduate of Salmon P. Chase College of Law. A resident of Fort Thomas, his office is located at 437 Highland Ave., Fort Thomas, Ky. 41075.

According to available public records, here are the 20 groups that “reported” spending the most on lobbying the Kentucky General Assembly in 2014:

  1. Altria (Philip Morris USA), Richmond, Va., tobacco, $323,097
  2. Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Frankfort, business issues, $291,158
  3. Kentucky Hospital Association, Louisville, hospitals, $183,919
  4. AT&T, Louisville, telecommunication deregulation, $169,005
  5. Kentucky Medical Association, Louisville, doctors, $164,362
  6. Anheuser-Busch Companies, Smyrna, Ga., brewery, $160,063
  7. Kentucky Justice Association, Louisville, trial lawyers, $155,550
  8. Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Louisville, agriculture, insurance, $133,174
  9. Community Ventures Corp., Lexington, non-profit housing, $127,854

10 (tie). Buffalo Trace Distillery, Louisville, distillery, $120,000

10 (tie). Hewlett-Packard Co., Palo Alto, Calif., technology, $120,000

10 (tie). Molina Healthcare Inc., Sacramento, Calif., health care $120,000

  1. Churchill Downs, Louisville, horse racing, gambling, $118,478
  2. Kentucky League of Cities, Lexington, cities, $117,742
  3. Anthem Inc., Louisville, health insurance, $111,250
  4. Home Builders Association of Kentucky, Frankfort, home builders, $109,854
  5. Norton Healthcare Inc., Louisville, hospital, $107,712
  6. UPS, Louisville, package delivery, $107,341
  7. EQT Corp., Pittsburgh, Pa., oil and gas exploration, $106,006
  8. Century Aluminum of Kentucky, Hawesville, aluminum plant $104,019

That is a lot of money to lobby Kentucky legislators! These groups are expecting something in return for this cash investment in the General Assembly, and the legislators are only too happy to comply. Remember, this is only the  top 20 groups!!! Show me the MONEY!!!

Upcoming PDS Events

PDS Management Board
Monthly Business Meeting
Monday, January 26 at 5:15 p.m.
Commission Chambers, PDS Building, Fort Mitchell

Pendleton County Joint City-County Planning Commission
Monthly Business Meeting
Monday, January 26 at 7 p.m.
Pendleton County Courthouse in Falmouth

PDS Council
Quarterly Business Meeting
Thursday, January 29 at 5:45p.m.
Commission Chambers, PDS Building, Fort Mitchell

KCPC Subdivision Regulations Committee
Business Meeting
Tuesday, February 3 at 5:30 p.m.
Commission Chambers, PDS Building, Fort Mitchell

Kenton County Planning Commission
Monthly Public Hearing and Business Meeting
Thursday, February 5 at 6:15 p.m.
Commission Chambers, PDS Building, Fort Mitchell

Presidents’ Day
Monday, February 16
PDS office closed – Visit PDS online

Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | January 19, 2015

Lawyer Sanders says that May is most active month for tornadoes.

According to the NOAA, May is the most active month of the year for tornadoes with an average of 276 across the U.S. By September, the number drops to an average of 74.

Preparation ahead of time and knowing what to do in the event of tornado can help reduce the loss of life if one strikes.

Here are some safety tips courtesy of Rainbow International:

  1. Tornadoes usually pass through an area fairly quickly, so the safest place to be is in a basement, storm cellar or an interior room without windows.
  2. Have an emergency kit with packaged food, bottled water, flashlights & batteries, medications, blankets, extra clothes, pet supplies and books or puzzles to keep young children entertained.
  3. Have a place for family members to meet if separated by the storm. Select a family member or friend in another state for everyone to contact if separated.
  4. Schedule tornado drills and know the emergency action plans for school, work and other places frequented by the family.
  5. If a tornado is in the area, listen to and heed any advisories. Warning signs can include a dark, greenish-colored clouds or clouds with large hail, a funnel cloud, and a loud roar or rumble.

After the tornado passes, wait for emergency teams to arrive if necessary; avoid power lines and puddles with wires in them; watch for broken glass, nails and other sharp objects; and never use matches or a lighter in case of leaking natural gas or fuel tanks.

U.S. EPA’s annual Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) report discloses that approximately 22 billion pounds— or 84 percent— of the 26 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste were properly managed.

However, 4 billion pounds of toxic chemical waste were disposed of or otherwise released to the environment, 66 percent went to land, 19 percent to air, 5 percent to water, and 10 percent was transferred to other facilities.

TRI data is submitted annually to EPA, states, and tribes by facilities in industry sectors such as manufacturing, metal mining, electric utilities, and commercial hazardous waste. Under the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA), facilities must report their toxic chemical releases for the prior year to EPA by July 1 of each year.

The Pollution Prevention Act of 1990 also requires facilities to submit information on pollution prevention and other waste management activities related to TRI chemicals.

To access the 2013 TRI National Analysis report, including long-term trends and localized analyses, visit www.epa.gov/tri/nationalanalysis.

Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CH 4. It is the simplest alkane and the main component of natural gas. Natural gas occurs in reservoirs beneath the surface of the earth. It is often found in conjunction with petroleum deposits. Before it is distributed, natural gas usually undergoes some sort of processing.

Usually, the heavier hydrocarbons (propane and butane) are removed and marketed separately. Non-hydrocarbon gases, such as hydrogen sulfide, must also be removed. The cleaned gas is then distributed throughout the country through thousands of miles of pipeline. Local utility companies add an odorant before delivering the gas to their customers.

Natural gas is the cleanest burning fossil fuel. Coal and oil, the other fossil fuels, are more chemically complicated than natural gas, and when combusted, release a variety of potentially harmful air pollutants. Burning methane releases only carbon dioxide and water. Since natural gas is mostly methane, the combustion of natural gas releases fewer byproducts than other fossil fuels.

At room temperature, methane is a gas less dense than air. It melts at –183°C and boils at –164°C. It is not very soluble in water.

Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. If methane is allowed to leak into the air before being used—from a leaky pipe, for instance—it absorbs the sun’s heat, warming the atmosphere. For this reason, it’s considered a greenhouse gas, like carbon dioxide.

The largest source of industrial emissions of methane is the oil and gas industry. Nearly 30 percent of methane emissions in the U.S. in 2012 came from oil production and the production, processing, transmission and distribution of natural gas.

While methane emissions from the oil and gas industry have declined 16 percent since 1990, they are projected to increase by about 25 percent over the next decade.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill is the worst oil spill in U.S. history. Within days of the April 20, 2010 explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, underwater cameras revealed the BP pipe was leaking oil and gas on the ocean floor about 42 miles off the coast of Louisiana.

By the time the well was capped on July 15, 2010 (87 days later), an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil had leaked into the ocean.  Eleven people also lost their lives and the fire burned for 36 hours before the rig sank. To date, BP has probably spent more than $27 billion — including more than $14 billion on response and clean-up, and more than $13 billion on claims paid to individuals, businesses and government entities.

Did you know that revenue generated from federal oil and gas production is one of the largest nontax sources of federal government funds, accounting for about $9 billion in fiscal year 2009 and $10.1 billion in each of fiscal years 2010 and 2011?

The Supreme Court agreed this afternoon to hear four new cases on same-sex marriage. The Court said it would rule on state power to ban gay and lesbian marriage and state power to refuse to recognize such marriages performed out of state.  A total of one hour and ninety minutes was set for the hearings, which may be April 2015.  As of now, same-sex marriages are allowed in thirty-six states, with bans remaining in the other fourteen but under court challenge.

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