PH Glatfelter agrees to reimburse Fox River cleanup costs

Fishing boat passes a PCB dredging barge on the Fox River (WBAY file photo)

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The Environmental Protection Agency says the decades-long legal battle over contamination of the Fox River is over. A final settlement was reached to cover the past and future costs of the PCB cleanup.

According to the EPA, P.H. Glatfelter Company has agreed to pay $20.5 million to reimburse the agency for past cleanup costs.

The company will also reimburse all future government costs of overseeing the cleanup project and will take on long-term monitoring and maintenance activities required by the EPA.

Georgia-Pacific joined in the settlement.

Several paper companies dumped industrial chemicals into the river during the 1960s and 1970s, specifically cancer-causing PCBs used in the manufacture of carbonless copy paper.

One year ago, a federal court ruled against Glatfelter in a lawsuit brought by Wisconsin and the federal government for $33 million in un-reimbursed costs related to removing contamination from the river. The court ruling stated:

"Here, there is no doubt that the Plaintiffs will continue to incur response costs in the future. Glatfelter’s liability has already been determined by the court, and the Plaintiffs should not be forced to incur further costs and delay in attempting to collect future costs. Unlike the other defendants, Glatfelter has not entered into a settlement agreement with the Plaintiffs for the current Site. Under these circumstances, I conclude that the Plaintiffs’ request for declaratory relief should be granted."

Last summer, the parties reached a tentative agreement.

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