The lawsuit alleged that Lockheed violated the statute that establishes how hazardous wastes must be managed, by failing to identify and report hazardous waste produced and stored at the facility, and failing to properly handle and dispose of the waste.
Lockheed operated the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant under contracts with DOE from 1984 to 1999. During that time, Lockheed was responsible for the facility's uranium enrichment operations and for environmental restoration, waste management, and custodial care at the site.
In announcing the settlement, the U.S. Attorney stated:
Government contractors are required to follow the same federal laws that apply to everyone else. These companies do not get a pass on compliance, especially when their responsibilities include managing and disposing of hazardous waste. Today's settlement should serve as a reminder that ...the Department of Justice will pursue all credible allegations of false claims and of environmental regulatory violations.Whistleblowers provide a valuable service in ferreting out fraud, waste, and abuse. Whistleblowing is not the mother lode however. Relatively few whistleblower cases are enjoined by the Government (based on our anecdotal evidence) which means the whistleblower, if he/she wants to proceed, must go it alone. That cost money and many attorneys are unwilling to take such cases on contingencies and as a result, the law suits simply die.
You can read the full DoJ press release on this case by clicking here.