Dioxin Case: International Paper Cleared, Waste Management Settles
has been cleared of responsibility by a jury after being accused by
Harris County of polluting the San Jacinto River with Dioxin.
Co-defendant Waste agreed to a $29.2 million settlement in an agreement negotiated before the verdict was reached.
Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan was asking the jury to assess billions of dollars in fines against the two companies.
Waste Management and
Paper absorbed two operations responsible for dumping Dioxin laced
material in the San Jacinto Waste Pits back in the mid 1960's.
County claims much of that poisonous material has leaked into the river
and the companies responsible did nothing to stop it.
Environmental activists called the settlement a win for residents of surrounding neighborhoods.
think for the community members this is a victory along our journey.
The fight over the waste pits and the San Jacinto River is far from
over, but the
that created the site now settling I think it is a victory along our
way," said Jackie Young of the San Jacinto River Coalition.
Houston based Waste Management says it's pleased with the settlement.
Our focus remains, as it always has, on fully participating in the very
structured and well-defined EPA process, established to evaluate and
determine the appropriate remedy for the site. We're fully committed to a
final cleanup plan that rigorously protects public health and the
environment," said Toni Beck, Waste Management's VP of Communication.
The Environmental Agency is deterring the future of the San Jacinto Waste Pits.
EPA may leave the waste stored where it is or could require Waste
Management and International Paper to pay for complete removal of the
The Harris County Attorney's Office says the settlement proceeds will be split equally with the State of Texas.