3M Settles Minnesota Groundwater Pollution Case

3M has agreed to provide an $850 million grant to the state for a special "3M Grant for Water Quality and Sustainability Fund."

3M and Minnesota's attorney general, Lori Swanson, announced a settlement Feb. 20 of a protracted lawsuit in which the state claimed the company knowingly dumped dangerous perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) that affected groundwater and drinking water supplies in the Twin Cities area. 3M has agreed to provide an $850 million grant to the state for a special "3M Grant for Water Quality and Sustainability Fund."

The state's lawsuit sought as much as $5 billion in damages for what it claimed was decades of improper disposal of the chemicals, starting in 1950.

3M's announcement of the settlement said the fund "will enable projects that support water sustainability in the Twin Cities East Metro region, such as continued delivery of water to residents and enhancing groundwater recharge to support sustainable growth. The projects will also result in habitat and recreation improvements, such as fishing piers, trails, and open space preservation."

It also said, "This settlement is consistent with 3M's long history of environmental stewardship."

"We are proud of our record of environmental stewardship, and while we do not believe there is a PFC-related public health issue, 3M will work with the state on these important projects," said John Banovetz, senior vice president, 3M Research & Development and chief technology officer. "Sustainability is embedded firmly at the core of our business. This settlement reflects our commitment to acting with integrity and conducting business in a sustainable way that is in the best interest of all who live and work in Minnesota."

As a result of the settlement, 3M said it will record a first quarter 2018 charge of approximately $1.10 to $1.15 per share, which includes related legal fees.

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