Saturday, March 14, 2009

Asarco proposes largest environmental settlement in U.S. history

The announcement of Asarco's proposed environmental settlement made local headlines. The Daily Star said it's the largest one in history at $835.7 million with another $275.3 million going to federal and state governments, for a total of $1.1 billion.

But there is as much as $7.9 billion in claims against the company from governments and individuals in asbestos-related claims. The bankruptcy court will approve the final deal - but the question I have is whether the judge will accept the $1.1 billion. Will the claimants be demanding a larger settlement or expect this will be the best they can get?

The Star reports that "The bankruptcy court had previously approved cleanups at sites in Arizona, including $880,000 for the Helvetia mine, a century-old, contaminated mining site southeast of Tucson and $13.5 million to clean up Asarco sites in Hayden and Winkelman northeast of Tucson.

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