TRENTON – DEP Commissioner Bob Martin announced that $14.2 million in financing for the environmental cleanups of a former General Motors auto plant sites in Clark has been approved as part of a $773 million legal settlement filed Wednesday in federal bankruptcy court in a case involving 89 former GM properties nationwide.
The settlement, filed Oct. 20 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.
Two New Jersey sites are included in the agreement: Hyatt-Clark and a Delphi/GM site in Ewing Township. The Clark tract already has been redeveloped into a golf course and the settlement will finance continued remediation and monitoring of the ground water.
“This fantastic news has been a long-time coming,” said 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.”
“This settlement will ensure that polluters pay for the damage they’ve done and that New Jersey communities contaminated by General Motors will not be forgotten or stuck with a massive cleanup bill after the company’s bankruptcy,” said U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ). “The funds will protect the public health, environmental health and economic growth of these New Jersey communities. Ultimately, the contaminated sites will be rehabilitated and put in a position to thrive economically.”
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.
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