US firms pay $120 mln to clean Texas dump site
WASHINGTON - A group of refiners and petrochemical companies has agreed to pay $120 million for cleaning up a contaminated dump site in Texas, the U.S. Justice Department announced last week.
The second-largest settlement in the history of the federal environmental Superfund program will go to the U.S. government and the State of Texas to cover their cleanup costs.
The firms accused of wrongdoing include Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil Co., Phillips Petroleum and BP-owned Atlantic Richfield, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Occidental Chemical Corp., the El Paso Group and Rohm & Haas, a provider of specialty chemicals.
They were a few of the many companies that dumped chemical and oil-based waste at the Sikes Disposal Pits site near Crosby, Texas, in the 1950s and 1960s.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Texas began cleaning the site in the early 1990s and completed the project in 1995.
The U.S. government and Texas sued 14 companies in 1998, accusing them of the dumping at the site. Those firms in turn sued 20 other companies for their part in helping to contaminate the property.
Under the settlement, the U.S. government will receive a reimbursement of $111.3 million, plus interest, and the State of Texas will receive $8.7 million, plus interest, which will go toward their cleanup costs.
The money that the federal government gets from the settlement will go into the Superfund and be available for cleanup efforts at other sites across the nation.
The Sikes property is now home to a variety of wildlife, EPA said.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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