New Enviro Settlements Announced

clean air act graphic
Justice Department officials announced three new environmental cleanup settlements Thursday, part of a yearlong campaign to highlight Bush administration accomplishments in reducing pollution.

Assistant Attorney General Thomas L. Sansonetti said the government reached two new Clean Air Act settlements and one Superfund deal that will reimburse the federal government $10 million for the cleanup of a site in Los Angeles.

The Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency also have reached six Clean Air Act settlements over the past three months that will reduce air pollution by a combined 465,000 tons each year, Sansonetti said.

These include a $1.2 billion settlement with Virginia Electric Power Co., a $600 million agreement with Wisconsin Electric Power Co. and a $330 million settlement with Alcoa for its aluminum plant in Rockdale, Texas.

The largest of the new Clean Air Act agreements involves Earthgrains, a major bakery company that is now part of the Sara Lee Bakery Group.

Under the deal, Earthgrains has agreed to pay a $5.25 million civil penalty and phase out use of certain refrigerants that damage the Earth's ozone layer at 57 of its 67 facilities around the country.

The second Clean Air Act settlement announced Thursday involves a May 1997 chemical release from the DuPont Co. fluoroproducts plant in Louisville, Ky. Workers cleaning a valve at the plant caused damage that resulted in release of a toxic cloud of some 11,500 pounds of hydrogen fluoride into the air.

The settlement requires chemical giant DuPont Co. to pay $550,000 in civil penalties and perform environmental projects worth another $552,000.

The Justice Department also reached an agreement with 12 different companies and investors for the reimbursement to the federal government of $10 million for the cleanup of the Puente Valley unit of the San Gabriel Valley Superfund site in Los Angeles.

The Superfund site involves groundwater that was contaminated with chlorinated organic solvents.