QUINCY, Ill.—Titan International Inc. will appeal a fine of nearly $11 million against its subsidiaries Titan Tire Corp. and Dico Inc. for alleged environmental violations.
"We respectfully disagree with the court's ruling," Titan International President and CEO Paul Reitz said in a prepared statement issued by the company.
Reitz referred to the Sept. 5 order handed down by Judge Robert W. Pratt of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa in Des Moines.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice accused Titan Tire and Dico of failing to clean up polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants at the former Dico site in Des Moines.
The agencies accused Titan specifically of selling three contaminated buildings on the site to Southern Iowa Mechanical L.L.C. SIM dismantled the buildings, which had the effect of increasing the value of the property by $720,000, the agencies said.
Pratt found Titan Tire and Dico jointly and severally liable for the $5.45 million the EPA incurred in response costs and interest at the Dico site, and also levied punitive damages in the same amount.
Titan Tire and Dico did not intend to arrange for the disposal of hazardous substances when it sold the buildings to SIM, according to Reitz.
"We further object to any suggestion that Titan Tire or Dico exposed the public to any environmental risk, as the government's own documents note that the actions in question 'did not likely result in a significant health threat,' " he said.
Pratt applied a more stringent standard against Titan Tire and Dico than other courts have applied in similar cases, he said.
Titan said it will appeal Pratt's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit.