PASSAIC COUNTY, NJ — State legislators are trying to force an Argentina-based oil company to help pay and remediate part of the river despite the company filing for bankruptcy.
The lower 8 miles of the Passaic River is contaminated with dioxin, a toxic compound that has been linked to cancer, pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls, from the former Diamond Alkali Co., which operated in Newark. The company made DDT, Agent Orange and other agricultural chemicals there in the 1950s and 1960s. Dioxin and pesticides were found in sediment in the Lower Passaic River and local groundwater in the 1980s. Other companies that operated along the river also contributed to the pollution, officials said.
Legislators heard testimony from about the about the extent of the contamination at a panel discussion Tuesday. Assemblyman Kevin Rooney (D-40) said the testimony was "troubling."
Rooney is co-sponsoring a resolution urging state and federal authorities to investigate YPF S.A.'s bankruptcy filing as a possible way of getting the company out of remediation responsibility. Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-38) is the legislation's primary sponsor. A similar resolution exists in the state Senate.