Last month, the Environmental Protection Agency said DuPont failed to report concerns it knew about regarding the release of C-8. That alleged violation could cost the company millions of dollars in penalties.
DuPont now says it plans to contest those allegations and is seeking a federal hearing before an administrative law judge. Depending on the outcome of that hearing, it’s a course that could take the C-8 case as far as the U.S. Supreme Court.
"It isn't a jury trial," says local attorney Bill Merriman. “It's a matter of whether the Environmental Protection Agency followed its guidelines, whether the investigation was fair, and whether the fines are reasonable. Judicial system proceedings take quite some time, especially when you're dealing with the federal government."
DuPont Washington Works officials declined a request for an on-camera interview. They did refer us to a statement outlining the company's response to the federal allegations. That statement says the company has reduced emissions of the chemical by 99 percent, and that the violation the EPA is accusing DuPont of violating involves a voluntary company guideline that's more protective than the agency's own standards.
DuPont adds it has complied with all of the agency's requests for information on C-8. The federal case is a separate issue from a local lawsuit by area residents who claim C-8 affected their health. A trial on that suit is still scheduled for September 20.
"The administrative processes have nothing to do with the case in circuit court," Merriman points out. "However, some of the findings may be used in the circuit court case, which could be detrimental to DuPont."
We should point out that attorney Bill Merriman is not connected to the C-8 case. He was sought out to provide a background on the legal process involved in the EPA issue.