A Missouri lead producer says one of the Governor’s vetoes could spell the end of its operations in the state.
The Vice President of Law for the Doe Run Company, Matt Wohl, has been visiting with state lawmakers urging them to overturn the veto of a bill that would cap punitive damages for the company in contamination lawsuits at $2.5 million.
“It doesn’t affect the compensatory damages,” Wohl said. “It only affects punitive damages nor does it affect any of our current operations. It only affects the legacy mining sites.”
Wohl says a series of such lawsuits have been filed against the company, the first of which will come to trial in October.
“That’s why we chose this session to try to get this bill passed. For us it is absolutely critical that we get this done this year … I don’t know that we’ll take another crack at it. It may be too late.”
Wohl disagrees with the Governor’s assessment that the bill is unconstitutional and only favors one company, and says the legislation would actually encourage other companies to undertake remediation.
“It’s not just in St. Francois County but down in the tri-state area which is where Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri meet. That was an old mining district as well and the government is spending millions of dollars doing remediation down there, in cooperation with some companies but I contend there are probably others that would step up and do it but they’ve seen the example of what happens at Doe Run. When they’ve stood up and done the work they face litigation.”
The veto session is September 11.