Dow Chemical agrees to $77 million environmental settlement in Michigan
The proposed settlement compensates for damage to natural resources caused by pollution from Dow's plant in Midland, Mich.
Dow Chemical Co. will implement and fund environmental restoration projects worth an estimated US$77 million to compensate for damage to natural resources caused by pollution from its plant in Midland, Mich.
The proposed settlement, which was lodged on Nov. 8 in the U.S. district court for the Eastern District of Michigan, is subject to public comment and to approval by the court.
According to a complaint filed on behalf of federal, state, and tribal natural resource trustees, Dow released dioxin-related compounds and other hazardous substances from its Midland facility, and such releases caused injuries to natural resources. The complaint alleges that hazardous substances from Dow’s facility adversely affected fish, invertebrates, birds, and mammals, contributed to the adoption of health advisories to limit consumption of certain wild game and fish, and resulted in soil contact advisories in certain areas including some public parks.
The settlement deal between Dow and government agencies calls for improvements to fish and wildlife habitats tainted by dioxins and other hazardous substances from Dow’s manufacturing complex in its headquarters city of Midland, which began operating in 1897.
As part of the settlement, Dow will pay US$15 million to a team of trustees including officials with state and federal agencies and the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. Some of the money will be used to maintain and monitor the effectiveness of the 13 projects, while at least US$5 million will fund additional natural resource initiatives selected by the trustees with advice from the public.
Dow also will reimburse government agencies for costs of studying how its pollution affected the environment.
“[This] settlement is good news for communities in this region, and it builds upon ongoing cleanup efforts under the direction and supervision of the EPA and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy,” said Principal Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Brightbill of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Div. “The extensive habitat restoration provisions of this settlement will help accelerate recovery of natural resources over a large area where resources have been adversely impacted as a result of decades of exposure to Dow’s hazardous substances.”