Man unsure of the safety of his medicine

Breaking news and expert analysis on legal and compliance issues

[Back To Home][Back To Archives]

From Products Liability Law Daily, January 31, 2019

P.H. Glatfelter shoulders $20.5M settlement, commits to maintenance of contaminated site

By Colleen Kave, J.D.

If approved, settlement will end all Superfund litigation over Wisconsin Fox River, Green Bay site.

P.H. Glatfelter Company, global manufacturer of specialty papers and engineered products, reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) according to which the company will pay $20.5 million for reimbursement of EPA past costs and natural resource damages caused by the release of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Moreover, Glatfelter will reimburse all future government costs of overseeing one of the nation’s largest Superfund cleanup projects at Wisconsin’s Lower Fox River and Green Bay site and will undertake long-term monitoring and maintenance activities required by EPA. Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP joined the settlement and agreed to minor adjustments to its commitments under prior settlements (Department of Justice, Office of Public Affairs News Release, January 28, 2019).

The settlement expands Glatfelter’s and Georgia-Pacific’s obligations under earlier partial settlements and government orders in a 2010 lawsuit brought by the United States and the state of Wisconsin against paper companies that contaminated the sediment of the Fox River and Green Bay when they made and recycled a particular type of PCB-containing "carbonless" copy paper. The lawsuit sought to require the companies to continue the ongoing cleanup at the contamination site and to pay government costs and natural resource damages. In 2017, NCR Corporation agreed to complete all remaining efforts to dredge the PCB-containing sediment from the Fox River and contain sediment in other locations with specially-engineered caps. Pursuant to this new settlement, Glatfelter and Georgia-Pacific will take responsibility for long-term tasks that will continue for many years after the dredging and cap installation is completed in 2019, including periodic monitoring of PCB levels in water and fish and maintenance of the sediment containment caps. The total cleanup costs for the Fox River site will exceed $1 billion.

Lodged with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin on January 3, 2019, the proposed settlement is in the form of a consent decree that must be approved by the federal judge overseeing the legal proceedings over the Fox River Site. If approved, this settlement would end all Superfund litigation over the Site. The agreement will also be subject to a 30-day public comment period after notice of the settlement is published in the Federal Register.

MainStory: TopStory IndustryNews ChemicalNews

Back to Top

Products Liability Law Daily

Introducing Wolters Kluwer Products Liability Law Daily — a daily reporting service created by attorneys, for attorneys — providing same-day coverage of breaking news, court decisions, legislation, and regulatory activity.


A complete daily report of the news that affects your world

  • View full summaries of federal and state court decisions.
  • Access full text of legislative and regulatory developments.
  • Customize your daily email by topic and/or jurisdiction.
  • Search archives for stories of interest.

Not just news — the right news

  • Get expert analysis written by subject matter specialists—created by attorneys for attorneys.
  • Track law firms and organizations in the headlines with our new “Who’s in the News” feature.
  • Promote your firm with our new reprint policy.

24/7 access for a 24/7 world

  • Forward information with special copyright permissions, encouraging collaboration between counsel and colleagues.
  • Save time with mobile apps for your BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Kindle.
  • Access all links from any mobile device without being prompted for user name and password.