W.R. Grace pays $63M to resolve environmental cleanup claims

W.R. Grace pays $63M to resolve environmental cleanup claims

Source: http://www.businessinsurance.com, February 6, 2014
By: Judy Greenwald

W.R. Grace & Co. has paid more than $63 million to the U.S. government under its bankruptcy reorganization plan to resolve environmental cleanup claims at 39 sites in 21 states.

The settlement, announced Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency, has been part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan for some time, said W.R. Grace, a global supplier of specialty chemicals and former asbestos producer.

The company emerged from bankruptcy Monday.

“Payments have been held up by other unrelated objections to the plan,” the Columbia, Md.-based company said a statement. “We are pleased the plan is now effective and that these payments are made.”

The agreement calls for the company to pay $54 million to the EPA and another $9 million to other agencies, including the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Army, the federal agencies said in a statement.

W.R. Grace and 61 affiliated companies filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2001. In 2003, the EPA filed claims seeking to recover past and future cleanup costs at sites contaminated by asbestos and other hazardous substances, the government said.

Numerous agreements to resolve the EPA’s environmental liability claims against W.R. Grace’s affiliates were negotiated as part of the company’s bankruptcy proceedings between April 2008 and February 2013, the government said.

“The company continues to be responsible for all of the sites it owns or operates and for any additional sites that were not known or resolved under the earlier settlements,” the government said in its statement.

The federal agencies said the company’s liability for asbestos contamination in the town of Libby, Mont., was addressed in a separate June 2008 settlement that resulted in a $250 million payment to the EPA, and that W.R. Grace continues to be responsible for addressing cleanup at the Libby mine.

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