Note 16 - Environmental, Health and Safety Matters
|6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2022
|Notes to Financial Statements
|Environmental Loss Contingency Disclosure [Text Block]
16. ENVIRONMENTAL, HEALTH AND SAFETY MATTERS
EHS Capital Expenditures
We may incur future costs for capital improvements and general compliance under environmental, health and safety (“EHS”) laws, including costs to acquire, maintain and repair pollution control equipment. For the six months ended June 30, 2022 and 2021, our capital expenditures for EHS matters totaled $17 million and $16 million, respectively. Because capital expenditures for these matters are subject to evolving regulatory requirements and depend, in part, on the timing, promulgation and enforcement of specific requirements, our capital expenditures for EHS matters have varied significantly from year to year and we cannot provide assurance that our recent expenditures are indicative of future amounts we may spend related to EHS and other applicable laws.
We have accrued liabilities relating to anticipated environmental cleanup obligations, site reclamation and closure costs and known penalties. Liabilities are recorded when potential liabilities are either known or considered probable and can be reasonably estimated. Our liability estimates are calculated using present value techniques as appropriate and are based upon requirements placed upon us by regulators, available facts, existing technology and past experience. The environmental liabilities do not include amounts recorded as asset retirement obligations. We had accrued $5 million for environmental liabilities for both June 30, 2022 and December 31, 2021. Of these amounts, $1 million was classified as accrued liabilities in our condensed consolidated balance sheets for both June 30, 2022 and December 31, 2021 and $4 million was classified as other noncurrent liabilities in our condensed consolidated balance sheets for both June 30, 2022 and December 31, 2021. In certain cases, our remediation liabilities may be payable over periods of up to 30 years. We may incur losses for environmental remediation in excess of the amounts accrued; however, we are not able to estimate the amount or range of such potential excess.
Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (“CERCLA”) and similar state laws, a current or former owner or operator of real property in the U.S. may be liable for remediation costs regardless of whether the release or disposal of hazardous substances was in compliance with law at the time it occurred, and a current owner or operator may be liable regardless of whether it owned or operated the facility at the time of the release. Outside the U.S., analogous contaminated property laws, such as those in effect in France and Australia, can hold past owners and/or operators liable for remediation at former facilities. Currently, there are approximately nine former facilities or third-party sites in the U.S. for which we have been notified of potential claims against us for cleanup liabilities, including, but not limited to, sites listed under CERCLA. Based on current information and past experiences at other CERCLA sites, we do not expect these third-party claims to have a material impact on our condensed consolidated financial statements.
Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (“RCRA”) in the U.S. and similar state laws, we may be required to remediate contamination originating from our properties as a condition to our hazardous waste permit. Some of our manufacturing sites have an extended history of industrial chemical manufacturing and use, including on-site waste disposal. We are aware of soil, groundwater or surface contamination from past operations at some of our sites, and we may find contamination at other sites in the future. For example, our Geismar, Louisiana facility is the subject of ongoing remediation requirements imposed under RCRA. Similar laws exist in a number of locations in which we currently operate, or previously operated, manufacturing facilities, such as Australia, India, France, Hungary and Italy.
North Maybe Canyon Mine Remediation
The North Maybe Canyon Mine site is a CERCLA site and involves a former phosphorous mine near Soda Springs, Idaho, which is believed to have been operated by several companies, including a predecessor company to us. In 2004, the U.S. Forest Service notified us that we are a CERCLA potentially responsible party (“PRP”) for contamination originating from the site. In February 2010, we and Wells Cargo (another PRP) agreed to conduct a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study of a portion of the site and are currently engaged in that process. At this time, we are unable to reasonably estimate our potential liabilities at this site.