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$190M Settlement in New Jersey Passaic River Contamination Case

Today the New Jersey Attorney General’s office announced a $190 million settlement has been agreed to resolve Occidental Chemical Corp.’s part in the contamination of the Passaic River. The settlement amount will be used to pay for past cleanup removal and costs, as well as damage to natural resources and other costs and damages. The predecessor to Occidental, Diamond Shamrock discharged dioxin–a hazardous substance known to cause cancer–into the river from its former plant in Newark. This is widely regarded of one of the worst dioxin-contaminated sites in the world. Part of this settlement entails that $50 million of the amount agreed upon must be used in natural restoration projects in and around the Greater Newark Bay Complex, which entails a large geographic area in and around northern New Jersey.

The settlement agreement is a proposal at this stage; it is subject to a public comment period as well as review by a Superior Court Judge. The litigation has been ongoing for over eight years, and was begun by the State of New Jersey. Occidental was the last remaining defendant sued by the State over the contamination who had not settled, and should this agreement move forward a total of $355.4 million will have gone into the cleanup of the Passaic River. To read more about the settlement, see the NJDEP’s official new release.

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