Daily News Archive
Manufacturers Pay $100 Million in Settlement
(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2004) A lawsuit was
settled December 19, 2003, resulting in a payout of $100 million by
pesticide manufacturing plant owners GB Sciences (GBS), according to
Chronicle. GBS, its parent company Syngenta, and 11 other firms
were charged with contamination of property owned by the Port of Houston,
located adjacent to the plant.
Port officials began
suspecting contamination in 1998, at which point they launched an investigation.
As their analysis went deeper, they found that the contamination was
much more extensive than anticipated, with hazardous pesticides DDT
and lindane as the main culprits. U.S. production of DDT ceased in 1970,
and the plant discontinued production of lindane in 1966, but the toxic
residues of these dangerous chemicals are long lasting. The contamination
ran through the Harris County flood control ditch and a section of the
The settlement, as reported by the Houston Chronicle, includes $55 million
to cover attorneys' fees, and oversight of the remediation process for
the next 30 years and for future protection for environmental issues.
In addition, defendants will buy 112 acres of the contaminated land
from the port.
Remediation of the property is expected to start this year and take
up to seven years to complete. Included in the cleanup will be a major
project involving the removal of 500,000 cubic yards of sediment from
the bayou and county flood ditch. The total cost of remediation is a
projected $45 million.
"The port authority has been committed to resolving this matter
because we genuinely felt that it was the right thing to do for the
protection and preservation of the environment and the community's quality
of life," said Tom Kornegay, executive director of the port. The
port could have held out for more money but was focused instead on addressing
the environmental issues, said Michael Connelly of the Connelly Baker
Wotring Jackson law firm, which represented the port.
With the announcement of the lawsuit settlement, Syngenta said Tuesday
that environmental stewardship is a priority of the company. Today,
fungicides are produced at their plant.
in the lawsuit included ISK and its affiliates; Occidental Chemical
Co., as the successor to Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Co.; Maxus Energy
Corp.; and Zeneca.