Paper companies ordered to pay $308 million for Fox
Article courtesy of ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 4, 2001
GREEN BAY -- Seven paper companies that dumped harmful
PCBs into the Fox River will pay for a proposed $308 million
project to dredge much of the contamination out of the
river and bury it in a landfill, state and federal environmental
officials said Tuesday.
The agencies will continue to negotiate with the paper
companies to reach settlements on the payments or a lawsuit
will be filed to recover the money, said Tom Skinner,
regional administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection
"We are sitting at the table with a number of companies.
We are fairly hopeful in this case we are going to reach
a resolution,'' he said.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the
EPA announced details of the cleanup at the Jack Day Environmental
Education Center along the Fox River in Green Bay. They
called the river "culturally and recreationally invaluable.''
"This is a cleanup that has to be done one way or another,''
The announcement ends years of study and debate about
how to best clean up the river. The study included test
dredging. Some earlier estimates had suggested the dredging
would cost upward of $700 million -- too expensive and
not worth it, the paper companies contended.
"What a wonderful day and what a beginning of the end
of pollution in this river and a clean river for people
to enjoy,'' said Bill Hartwig, regional administrator
for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The dredging is expected to take at least seven years,
perhaps beginning in 2003, and would remove 7.25 million
cubic yards of contaminated sediment containing nearly
65,000 pounds of PCBs, DNR Secretary Darrell Bazzell said.
Paper companies and the public will be able to comment
on the plan during hearings Oct. 29 in Appleton and Oct.
30 in Green Bay.