This is one of those "good news-bad news" posts. Wal-Mart got nailed, but it will cost the company less than the corporation probably takes in in a couple hours. From the Los Angeles Times:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. admitted to improperly handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its stores nationwide, pleading guilty Tuesday to several federal criminal and civil counts and agreeing to pay more than $81 million.
The accusations against the retail behemoth spanned three criminal cases from the Justice Department and a related civil case brought by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Wal-Mart said its failings -- not training workers to properly deal with and discard hazardous waste, including pesticides, detergents, paints and aerosols, some of which ended up in municipal trash bins or in local sewers -- were remedied years ago.
Prosecutors also said waste taken back to stores by customers was delivered by the company to product return centers without required safety documentation.
“The incidents on which the charges are based occurred years ago and involved the transportation and disposal of common consumer products,” the company said in a statement. “No specific environmental impact has been alleged and since then, Walmart designed and implemented comprehensive environmental programs that remain in place today.” [Emphasis added]
Like I said, $81 million is just a drop in the bucket for a company that grinds its suppliers overseas and grinds its employees at the stores here, providing them with zero benefits.
But here's the kicker. You will notice that the law suits were filed years ago and Wal-Mart says it remedied the problems years ago. In other words, the corporation has been sitting on that $81 million for all those years.