The company has corporate headquarters in Columbia, Md., and employees in nearly 40 countries. The company manufactures construction chemicals, building materials and chemical additives, among other things.
“This settlement will make money available to substantially help the cleanup of many Superfund sites around the country,” said Ronald J. Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This settlement is a good outcome for both the taxpayers and the environment.”
“Bankruptcy is not a safe haven to avoid environmental responsibilities,” said Catherine McCabe, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “EPA will keep pursuing companies who pollute the environment.”
The federal government determined that W.R. Grace contributed to the contamination at the sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, commonly referred to as Superfund. The settlement will be used to reimburse EPA for past costs and to pay for future costs associated with cleaning up at hazardous waste sites in 18 states. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.
W.R. Grace and 61 affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy in April 2001. In March 2003, EPA filed claims against the company to recover past and future cleanup costs. Upon approval of the Bankruptcy Court, EPA will have an allowed claim in Grace's bankruptcy. Grace's plan of reorganization will determine the extent to which allowed claims will be paid.
The settlement agreement will be lodged in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and is subject to court approval after a 30-day public comment period.
The settlement agreement does not resolve environmental claims related to the cleanup of the Libby Asbestos site in Libby, Mont., – thought by many to be one of the most polluted sites in the Unites States – and the Curtis Bay site near Baltimore. These claims still are pending.
The Superfund sites covered in the settlement agreement include: Acton Plant site, Acton, Mass.; Amber Oil (Eco-Tech) site, Milwaukee; Aqua Tech site, Greer, S.C.; Cambridge Plant site, Cambridge, Mass.; Casmalia Resources site, Santa Barbara, Calif.; Central Chemical site, Hagerstown, Md.; Galaxy/Spectron site, Elkton, Md.; Green River site, Maceo, Ky.; Harrington Tools site, Glendale, Calif.; Intermountain Insulation site, Salt Lake City; IWI site, Summit, Ill.; Li Tungsten site, Glen Cove, N.Y.; Malone Services Co. site, Texas County, Texas; N-Forcer site, Dearborn, Mich.; Operating Industries site, Monterey Park, Calif.; R&H Oil/Tropicana site, San Antonio, Texas; RAMP Industries site, Denver; Reclamation Oil site, Detroit; Robinson Insulation site, Minot, N.D.; Solvents Recovery Service of New England site, Southington, Conn.; Vermiculite Intermountain site, Salt Lake City; Vermiculite Northwest site, Spokane, Wash.; Wauconda Sand and Gravel Superfund site Wauconda, Ill.; Watson Johnson Landfill site, Richland Township, Pa.; Wells G&H site, Woburn, Mass.; Western Minerals Processing site, Denver; Western Minerals Products site, Minneapolis; Zonolite Co./W.R. Grace site, Ellwood City, Pa.; Zonolite Co./W.R. Grace site, New Castle, Pa.; Zonolite Co./W.R. Grace site, Hamilton Township, N.J.; Zonolite Co./W.R. Grace site, Prince George's County, Md.; Zonolite Co./W.R. Grace site, Wilder, Ky.