DEP Commissioner Bob Martin has announced that $24.7 million in financing for the environmental cleanups of two contaminated former General Motors auto plant sites in Clark and Ewing has been approved as part of a $773 million legal settlement filed today in federal bankruptcy court in a case involving 89 former GM properties nationwide.
The settlement, filed today by the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York, will require the Motors Liquidation Company (MLC) to pay $641 million in cash and contribute another $120 million in non-cash assets, in addition to $11 million already spent, for cleanup and administration of contaminated properties in 14 states.
Included are the Hyatt-Clark site in Clark and the Delphi/GM site in Ewing Township. The settlement calls $14.2 million to be set aside for cleanup of the Hyatt-Clark property, and $10.5 million for cleanup of the Ewing property.
"This fantastic news has been a long-time coming,'' said Commissioner Martin. "It's an environmental win for this State and also will greatly benefit the public health and welfare of the people who live and work in these communities. The legacy of contamination finally can be left behind.''
"It's also part of a continuing drive to cleanup the state's many contaminated sites, an effort that is a priority of Gov. Chris Christie and the DEP,'' said Commissioner Martin.
In Ewing, the settlement will fund a complete remediation effort at a site that has been vacant for years and which eventually will be restored for beneficial use. In Clark, the tract already has been redeveloped and the settlement will finance continued remediation and monitoring of the ground water.
In June 2009, General Motors Corp. filed for bankruptcy. On June 30, 2009, a bankruptcy court approved a sale of GM's assets to MLC.
The new GM is in the automobile business and MLC is the debtor for the purpose of winding down the business of the old GM, as part of a liquidation plan approved by the bankruptcy court. MLC's business consists of liquidating the liabilities of the old GM, including environmental liabilities.
Under the terms of today's settlement, three Environmental Response Trusts have been established to remediate the 89 properties nationwide, including one each for New York State and Michigan, and a multi-state trust for the other 12 states, including New Jersey.
The multi-state trust would be administered by a trustee, which will appoint a cleanup manager and redevelopment manager for each contaminated site, including Ewing and Clark. The cleanup manager would oversee remediation being performed by the trust, and will work closely with the DEP and affected towns to implement the cleanups.
Additional funding also would be available to help with non-environmental administrative expenses.
The U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Treasury, U.S. EPA and the Justice Department's consultant, the Brattle Group, negotiated with 14 states, including New Jersey, to resolve MLC's liabilities for properties formerly owned by the old GM, leading to today's settlement.
The settlement has been lodged with the Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York for 30 days to provide public notice and allow the public to comment on it. More information on the settlement can be found at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/October/10-dag-1172.html