EPA Receives $1.79B From Largest Environmental Bankruptcy in US History

The US Environmental Protection Agency will receive $1.79 billion from a bankruptcy settlement to clean up and restore more than 80 sites in 19 states.

EPA said the reorganization of American Smelting and Refining Company LLC (ASARCO) is the largest environmental bankruptcy in U.S. history.

ASARCO is a major producer of copper and one of the largest nonferrous metal producers in the United States. It is based in Arizona and is responsible for sites around the country that are contaminated with hazardous waste.

The money from environmental settlements in the bankruptcy will be used to pay for past and future costs incurred by federal and state agencies at more than 80 sites contaminated by mining operations in 19 states. Those states are Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and Washington.

“Today’s landmark enforcement settlement will provide almost one billion dollars to clean up polluted Superfund sites,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “This will mean cleaner land, water and air for communities across the country.”

ASARCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2005 after operating for
nearly 110 years. The company was purchased by Grupo Mexico, which has
complied with funding obligations and propertry transfers, set by the
bankruptcy court.

“This settlement exemplifies government at all levels working effectively for the American taxpayer to recover damages from polluters and restore and protect important national landscapes and significant wildlife resources that have been injured,” said Interior Assistant Secretary Tom Strickland.

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