Bloomberg Law
Feb. 2, 2023, 7:34 PM

NL Industries Dodges Liability for California Smelter Pollution

Samantha Hawkins
Samantha Hawkins
Legal Reporter

NL Industries escaped liability for cleaning up contamination from a lead smelter near Los Angeles because the contamination came from airborne pollution, which doesn’t amount to a disposal under federal and state hazardous waste laws.

California sued NL Industries and other companies under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and a similar state law, alleging that they owned, operated, or sent hazardous waste to the smelter in Vernon, Calif., —which has lead to more than $136 million in cleanup costs.

NL Industries or its predecessors created, or substantially contributed to nearly 100 years of pollution at the Vernon ...