GM bankruptcy estate looks to settle environmental claims

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GM's bankruptcy estate has proposed a $773 million trust to settle environmental claims. (Photo Credit: CC BY/Mike Licht/Flickr)

As if overproduction of overpriced vehicles weren’t enough to give an automaker a bad name, General Motors is not looking to dig itself out of an environmental pollution case. According to Automotive News, the GM bankruptcy estate has proposed a $773 million trust to deal with environmental claims that extend across 14 states. The trust would be applied toward clean up of 89 total GM properties not already liquidated in bankruptcy court, 59 of which are known to be contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Paying environmental claims with borrowed money

Acting U.S. Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler indicate that over half the $773 million slated to address environmental claims will go to GM sites in New York and Michigan. In total, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe of New York and the individual states are named in the proposed settlement. The trust fund would be taken from the $1.175 billion in government loans issued to the GM bankruptcy estate by the U.S. Treasury and Canada’s export credit agency, reports Automotive News.

The largest environmental settlement on record

During a Chapter 11 extension granted by the bankruptcy court, General Motors formed two units that were responsible for addressing environmental liabilities. Approximately $1.2 billion in cleanup costs are owed, according to court documents. Chrysler Corp. earmarked $15 million for cleanup, while GM’s other investigative unit (Lyondell Chemical Co.) managed to resolve an additional proposed $5.5 billion in environmental liabilities with a $170 million settlement. In total, the $773 trust fund would become the largest environmental settlement on record in the United States.

Aluminum die-casting at Massena

Known as the “Massena site,” the GM property in New York’s Saint Lawrence County will receive $120.8 million. Allegations are that the aluminum die-casting plan that operated at Massena from 1959 to 2009 flooded the property with potentially toxic PCB pollutants. St. Regis Mohawk tribal lands has lands that are believed to have been impacted by GM’s Massena plant.


Automotive News

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