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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 18, 2013
COURT APPROVES $366 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH AVX CORP. TO ACCELERATE CLEANUP OF
NEW BEDFORD HARBOR
Settlement will Remedy Contaminated Site in 5-7 Years
BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley issued the following statement
on the decision by the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts to enter a $366.25 million settlement with AVX Corporation that
will expedite the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination from
New Bedford Harbor and achieve cleanup goals within five to seven years, rather
than 40 years under current funding levels.
"We are pleased that the federal court has accepted this important settlement
to fund and accelerate a proper environmental cleanup of New Bedford harbor,"
AG Coakley said. "This decision is an important step for the economic
development of the harbor, and will help realize significant public health
benefits for the community."
A joint motion to enter a supplemental consent decree was filed in
-motion.html> with the United States District Court for the District of
Massachusetts. After announcing the
AVX in October, the AG's Office, along with the Massachusetts Department of
Environmental Protection (MassDEP), Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) carefully reviewed and considered public
comments prior to filing the motion.
The "cash-out" agreement with AVX Corp, a total of $366.25 million, plus
interest, will be paid to the United States and the Commonwealth to provide
more than 90 percent of estimated funding needed to complete the PCB cleanup at
the New Bedford Harbor Superfund site. The cleanup includes dredging the PCB
sediments and disposing of them at a mix of confined disposal facilities
on-site, confined aquatic facilities on the harbor floor, and at off-site
Prior to the settlement's approval, EPA has been performing the remedy with
close to $15 million of funding per year, including $1.5 million in
cost-sharing funds provided by MassDEP. PCBs are suspected carcinogens and have
other adverse human health and ecological impacts.
The 18,000-acre New Bedford Harbor Superfund site extends from the Acushnet
River estuary, through the City of New Bedford commercial harbor, and into
17,000 acres of Buzzards Bay. The site is adjacent to former Aerovox facility,
located along the Acushnet River, which was for decades a manufacturing
facility utilizing PCBs for electrical equipment. AVX is a corporate successor
to Aerovox Corporation, which operated at the facility from 1938 to 1973.
The settlement with AVX Corp. modifies the joint consent decree entered with
AVX in 1992, in which AVX paid $66 million plus interest for response costs and
natural resource damages at the site.
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