Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dioxin Case: International Paper Cleared, Waste Management Settles

Dioxin Case: International Paper Cleared, Waste Management Settles
International Paper corporation 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 Management 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 International Paper absorbed two operations responsible for dumping Dioxin laced material in the San Jacinto Waste Pits back in the mid 1960's.
The 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.
"I 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 company 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 Corporate Communication.
The Environmental Protection Agency is deterring the future of the San Jacinto Waste Pits.
The EPA may leave the waste stored where it is or could require Waste Management and International Paper to pay for complete removal of the toxic material.
The Harris County Attorney's Office says the settlement proceeds will be split equally with the State of Texas.

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