Under bankruptcy, global chemical supplier W.R. Grace & Co. has paid more than $63 million to resolve environmental cleanup claims at 39 sites in 21 states, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials. The agreement includes asbestos cleanup at Montana’s Libby Mmne and an associated $250 million payment to the EPA.
W.R. Grace and 61 affiliates first filed for bankruptcy protection in Q2 2001. Two years later, EPA officials filed claims to recover past and future cleanup costs at sites contaminated by asbestos and other hazardous substances. Individual payments include $9 million toward other federal agencies, including the Department of Interior and the U.S. Army.
“Communities will benefit from payment of cleanup costs,” said Robert Dreher, acting assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division. “The Justice Department is committed to holding polluters responsible for their environmental legacy.”
Cleaning toxic pollution in communities “is the responsibility of the company that created it,” added Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance. “This money will make a difference across the country.”
Agreements aimed at resolving company environmental claims were negotiated within bankruptcy proceedings between Q2 2008 and Q1 2013. W.R. Grace is still held responsible for all the sites it owns or operates and additional sites unknown or resolved under the earlier settlements.