Historical Pollution Responsibility of Acquiring Company

From 1959 to 1969, Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Corp operated a pesticide manufacturing plant in Newark, New Jersey. Among the products was Agent Orange. Among the pollutants was a highly toxic form of dioxin, some of which, along with DDT and other chemicals, polluted stretches of the Passaic River. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection estimates the cost of clean up to be between one and four billion dollars.

In the 1980’s Diamond Shamrock’s facility and operations were acquired by Occidental Chemical Corp. Occidental claimed that it did not acquire responsibility for the contamination.

Last week, Superior Court in New Jersey ruled that Occidental, along with other companies, is responsible for the costs of cleaning up the contamination, which the State claims is one of the most highly contaminated dioxin sites in the world, presenting an imminent and substantial danger to the public and to wildlife.

The State’s press release announcing the court decision is at http://www.nj.gov/dep/newsrel/2011/11_0090.htm

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