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Planet Ark World Environment News U.S. Says Chemtura To Pay $26 Mln Over Toxic Sites

Date: 25-Aug-10
Country: USA
Author: Jonathan Stempel

Chemtura Corp, a producer of specialty chemicals, will pay $26 million to clean up 17 contaminated sites located in 14 U.S. states, under an agreement announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The settlement resolves claims by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that Chemtura violated federal environmental laws, including the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act.

It requires approval by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber in New York, who is overseeing Chemtura's Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Chemtura is based in Middlebury, Connecticut.

The 17 properties include 12 on the EPA's list of the most serious hazardous waste sites requiring cleanup.

They do not include the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, New York, a federal Superfund site whose liabilities remain the subject of negotiation.

The settlement also requires Chemtura to perform further cleanup at the Laurel Park Inc Superfund site in Naugatuck, Connecticut, as provided in an existing consent decree.

In the settlement, the government will receive $17 million of general Chemtura unsecured claims, which it expects to be paid fully in cash. It expects to receive another $9 million in cash to help clean up eight of the 17 cites.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in New York said the government had filed proofs of claim against Chemtura last October to cover costs for site cleanup and natural resource damage.

"We are pleased that we were able to negotiate this agreement with the Department of Justice," Chemtura spokesman John Gustavsen said.

He added Chemtura is "working toward getting a consensual reorganization plan approved and to emerge from bankruptcy as soon as possible."

Chemtura filed for bankruptcy protection on March 18, 2009, and this month said it expects to emerge from Chapter 11 by the end of September. Its shares closed Tuesday down 5.4 cents, or 12.7 percent, at 37.1 cents on the Pink Sheets.

The case is In re: Chemtura Corp, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-11233.

(Editing by Andre Grenon)

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