Department Of Interior
|Office of the Secretary||
CONTACT: Georgia Parham, USFWS
|For Immediate Release:August 20, 2004||
812-334-4261, ext. 203
Million Settlement Paves Way
(GARY, Ind.) - Indiana Governor Joe Kernan, Assistant Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett and Deputy Attorney General John Cruden announced today that eight companies have agreed to pay nearly $60 million to restore natural resources in the Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor Canal.
Kernan, Scarlett and other officials announced details of the agreement today at Marquette Park in Lake County along the Calumet River corridor, one of the most heavily industrialized areas of the country. In addition to the payments that will be made to fund restoration projects in the waterway, the companies have agreed to set aside for habitat protection 233 acres of land that contains important fish and wildlife habitat.
"Today's announcement is the culmination of eight years of unprecedented cooperation between state, federal and local officials and businesses to clean up the Grand Calumet," Kernan said. "Not only will this settlement enhance the tireless efforts of community groups in Northwest Indiana to restore this globally rare habitat, it also will strengthen the quality of life for generations to come in Northwest Indiana."
"This settlement is an example of unprecedented cooperation with companies to achieve restoration results," said Scarlett, Interior's assistant secretary for Policy, Management and Budget. "The agreement is the result of a significant partnership effort to restore natural resources and enhance an urban environment. We look forward to working with the private firms that are party to this agreement as full partners in the continued stewardship of this valuable river resource."
Led by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and the U.S. Department of Interior through its Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), a team of seven federal and state agencies has been working since 1996 to determine the extent of natural resource damages from a century of industrial releases of oil and other hazardous substances into the waterway. Studies showed that the releases contaminated the river's water and streambed, affecting migratory birds, fish, invertebrates and aquatic insects. The settlement with the Indiana and U.S. governments, lodged by the U.S. Department of Justice, calls for:
Settlement funds will be used to clean up, restore and protect the waterways and surrounding area, which includes globally rare dune and swale habitat.
Kernan, Scarlett and other
officials complimented the legal teams from federal and state agencies
who worked through highly complex federal and state laws and negotiated
The settling companies are Atlantic Richfield Co. (and ARCO Environmental Remediation, L.L.C.); BP Products North America Inc.; E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co.; Exxon Mobil Corp.; GATX Corp.; Georgia-Pacific Corp.; ISPAT-Inland Inc.; and United States Steel Corp. LTV Steel Co. was also a part of those discussions before declaring bankruptcy, and a substantial portion of the company's cost share was paid through the bankruptcy.
The governmental agencies involved are U.S. Department of the Interior through USFWS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Department of Homeland Security through the U.S. Coast Guard; U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; IDEM; Indiana Department of Natural Resources; U.S. Department of Justice; and Indiana's Attorney General's office.
For details on the settlement and additional information, visit www.grandcalumet or call:
Gov. Kernan's office - Lisa
Sirkin, 317-232-4578 or lsirkin@gov.IN.gov
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