Environmental Protection

W.R. Grace to pay $34M for Cleanup at 32 Sites

W.R. Grace, a global supplier of specialty chemicals, has agreed to a $34 million bankruptcy settlement for cleanup costs at 32 Superfund sites across the country, the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) announced. The action settles a bankruptcy claim brought by the federal government to recover money for Superfund site cleanup.

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 DOJ's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This settlement is a good outcome for both the taxpayers and the environment."

The federal government determined that the company 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.

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., and the Curtis Bay site near Baltimore. These claims are still pending.

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