Wednesday, September 14, 2011

N.J. court rules Tierra Solutions Inc. of Newark must help pay for cleanup of polluted lower Passaic River
Cost could range from $1 billion to $4 billion

The state Department of Environmental Protection has won another round in the legal fight to hold companies that polluted the lower Passaic River with pesticides and herbicides, including the Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange, responsible for cleaning up the waterway.

State Superior Court Judge Sebastian P. Lombardi in Newark has ruled that Tierra Solutions Inc. is liable under the state Spill Compensation and Control Act for past and future costs of cleaning up the contamination that has polluted a large stretch of the Lower Passaic. Tierra Solutions is the current owner of the site of the former Diamond Alkali/Diamond Shamrock plant on Newark's Lister Avenue.

The ruling is the second in two months by Lombardi that holds companies responsible for the cleanup. On July 19, The judge ruled Occidental Chemical Corp. also is liable for cleanup costs under the Spill Act.

"Cleaning up the Lower Passaic is very important to the public health and safety of residents living in the many communities located along the river,'' DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said. "These rulings affirm New Jersey's firm stance that companies sued by the State must accept responsibility for the pollution they and their predecessors caused.


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