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US EPA Recovers $400,000 From Golden Eagle Insurance

After two years of litigation and negotiation, the parties have reached the settlement

The Golden Eagle Insurance has agreed to pay $400,000 in a settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) and the US Department of Justice. The settlement was towards covering environmental investigation costs that the insolvent BKK Corporation was required to perform at its closed hazardous waste landfill in West Covina, California.

It has been reported that BKK notified EPA and the state of California five years ago that it could no longer afford to undergo conservation, rehabilitation and liquidation at its landfill site. Subsequently, EPA submitted a claim to the insurer under a 1989 performance bond that Golden Eagle had issued to BKK. Later, the California department of toxic substances control has stepped in to continue critical operations at the site, using a combination of government funds and payments under settlements with those who generated waste that was disposed in the landfill when it was still operating.

The performance bond guaranteed environmental investigations that were required of BKK under an enforcement order that EPA entered into with the landfill owner in 1989. When Golden Eagle denied EPA’s claim under the bond, EPA asked the Justice Department to pursue the Agency’s claim against the insurer. After two years of litigation and negotiation, the parties reached the $400,000 settlement of the United States’ claim.

Laura Yoshii, acting regional administrator of EPA, said: The government’s aggressive pursuit of this claim against an insurer undergoing reorganization demonstrates EPA’s tenacity in securing and enforcing financial obligations for cleanups to limit the use of taxpayer funds.