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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Georgia-Pacific agrees to settlement over contaminated Wisconsin river

BY DAN LOVING
The Wichita Eagle

Georgia-Pacific, a subsidiary of Wichita-based Koch Industries, has agreed to a proposed settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the state of Wisconsin regarding the cleanup of a contaminated river.

In the settlement announced today, Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products agreed that it is liable, along with other defendants, for cleanup of the Fox River near its Green Bay mill. The company also would pay $7 million to reimburse a portion of the government's unpaid past and future costs.

The settlement is subject to a 30-day public comment period.

The government also said it was filing a lawsuit against nine other companies and two municipal sewer systems that had not settled.

The total cleanup costs and damages are expected to exceed $1 billion. The nonsettling defendants are: NCR, Appleton Papers, CBC Coating, the city of Appleton, Kimberly-Clark, Menasha, Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission, NewPage Wisconsin Systems, P.H. Glatfelter Co., U.S. Paper Mills, and WTM I Co.

According to a news release, the lawsuit targets risks to people and wildlife posed by polychlorinated biphenyls —PCBs — in bottom sediment, banks and shoreline areas of the Fox River and Green Bay. PCBs were used in the production of carbonless copy paper, the waste of which was dumped into the river from the 1950s until 1971.

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