Payback time

Published: Wednesday 31 January 2001

four us chemical companies will pay a compensation of us $73 million to clean up ddt-contaminated waste near California's Santa Catalina Island. This amount is the largest compensation ever paid for an environmental clean up, other than oil. The companies include Montrose Chemical Corporation, Aventis SA, Chris-Craft Industries Incorporation and Atkemix Thirty Seven Incorporation. At least us $30 million of the compensation will be utilised for reintroducing bald eagles and peregrine falcons to Catalina and other Channel Islands, creating artificial reefs for fish and for other environmental projects. The rest of the money will be spent in cleaning up offshore contamination. In 1990, a lawsuit was filed against these four companies. "This agreement brings an end to years of acrimonious litigation," said Lois Schiffer, an assistant attorney general for the us justice department's environment and natural resources division. "It gives a critical boost for cleaning up contamination and restoring natural resources that are essential to the health of California's coastal environment," he said. Official estimates indicate that Montrose discharged about 1,800 tonnes of ddt-contaminated waste into Los Angeles county sewers from 1947 to 1971.

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