GM reaches $51 million environmental liability settlement

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The GM company logo on a bright red wall.

Old GM was in the red on both the economic and environmental books. (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/John Manoogian III/Flickr)

Motors Liquidation Co., the company that took over General Motors (“Old GM’s”) bad assets when it went into bankruptcy in 2009, has reached a civil settlement Monday with the federal government regarding the embattled automaker’s environmental liabilities. Reuters reports that the U.S. government will receive $51 million in compensation for 34 GM plants known to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and other contaminants. Over $800 million had already been recovered to clean up the sites.

Cleaning 89 GM sites in 14 states

According to The Detroit News, many of the GM environmental claims involve federal Superfund sites monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency. Clean-up involved 89 GM sites across 14 states, including 47 in Michigan, but the civil settlement deal addresses 34 sites across 11 states.

Of the settlement money, $15.1 million will be cash and the remainder stock in “new GM.” However, as shares will sell for less than face value, the final amount will actually be under $51 million. Wall Street estimates place the final amount at around $30 million.

Waste oil another problem in Detroit

In addition to General Motors’ PCB problems, some sites in Michigan also had problems with waste oil contaminating the water supply. The Dearborn, Mich., refining site faced a $130,000 EPA claim. The GM plant was responsible for waste oil refining and oil processing from the 1940s until 2005. Various companies sent the Dearborn plant used oil, waste oil and oil-contaminated water there for processing.

Other trouble sites include the Springfield Township Dump Superfund site in Oakland County, Mich. ($211,108); Wayne County’s Reclamation Oil Company site ($253,642); and Genesee County’s Forest Waste Disposal Superfund site ($495,460)

Chevy in the Hole is a big loss for GM

A 130-acre site adjacent to downtown Flint, Mich., that was a manufacturing hub for GM will cost the automaker $4.2 million, one of the largest named in the civil suit. The GM plant is known as the “Chevy in the Hole Site” due to its location at 300 North Chevrolet Avenue.


Environmental Protection Agency


The Detroit News

How mighty GM has fallen

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