Bankrupt Atlantic Wire to Pay $1.5 M to Settle Allegations

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal recently announced that Atlantic Wire, LLC has agreed to pay the state $1.5 million to settle allegations it repeatedly dumped toxic waste water into the Branford River between 2005 and early 2008.

The agreement settles a lawsuit that Blumenthal filed in January 2008 on behalf of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The action charged Atlantic Wire with spewing toxins into the Branford River 21 times from December 2005 to January 2008.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment (CFE) also sued the company over the spills.

Blumenthal said, "One- and-a-half million dollars sends a powerful message: dumping toxins into Connecticut's waters is intolerable -- and killing aquatic life callously and cavalierly is unconscionable legally and morally and must have consequences. Atlantic Wire inexcusably allowed toxic waste water to flow into the Branford River not once, but an incredible 21 times, causing a massive crab kill. The company's defiant violation of the law meant dead marine life and a damaged river.

"Our goal was never to put this company out of business, but it wrongly regarded pollution as part of its cost of doing business. Harsh monetary penalties like this deter potential lawbreakers and assure compliance. This case will make polluters think twice -- and act differently -- before pumping poison into our rivers and streams."

Blumenthal added, "Our investigation as to individual responsibility is continuing. In addition to this penalty, we have also achieved a set aside of $897,000 in the bankruptcy proceeding for clean-up activities."

Roger Reynolds, attorney for Connecticut Fund for the Environment, a New Haven-based environmental group, said, "This civil judgment wraps up the last of the five notices CFE brought against corporate polluters in September 2007. These penalties send a strong message to industry that environmental negligence will not be tolerated. Long Island Sound is a precious resource that provides immeasurable economic and recreational benefits to residents and visitors."

Atlantic Wire ceased operations in September and is in a liquidation bankruptcy. Blumenthal's office asked U.S. Bankruptcy Court to award the $1.5 million penalty from the company's assets. The bankruptcy proceeding will not discharge, forgive, or eliminate the state's $1.5 million penalty.

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