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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ENR

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 1998

AFTER TWO DAYS AT TRIAL IN BATON ROUGE, BORDEN AGREES TO

SETTLE FEDERAL POLLUTION CHARGES

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Borden Chemical and Plastics, part of the Borden family of corporations, today agreed to a more than $7 million dollar settlement to resolve allegations it ignored the law, and contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous wastes at its plant in Geismar, Louisiana, just outside Baton Rouge. The settlement includes a $3.6 million civil penalty, which is the largest ever in Louisiana for federal hazardous waste violations. Borden's decision to settle the case came after two days of trial in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge. Key terms of the settlement were entered into the court record today, but the details of the settlement will be filed within the next 30 days. Under the settlement made public today, Borden will pay a $3.6 million penalty and spend several million dollars to clean up and prevent the spread of contamination to a nearby drinking water aquifer. The company also will begin abiding by a federal law that regulates the handling and storage of hazardous wastes. The Justice Department had alleged that the company believed it was not subject to this law and chose to ignore the requirement that it obtain a permit to safely handle hazardous waste. Under today's settlement, Borden also will spend $3.4 million on Supplemental Environmental Projects in the area. These projects include providing $400,000 to fund community-based programs in Ascension Parish, where the plant is located, to help the community respond to environmental emergencies and make decisions about cleanups. "No one is above the law, and with this settlement Borden will be abiding by the same rules every other company has to follow," said Lois Schiffer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "I am pleased that Borden decided to settle this case because now the contamination will get cleaned up faster, and the people of Ascension Parish can put this behind them sooner." United States Attorney L.J. Hymel said that "this lawsuit and this settlement represent an ongoing commitment by this office and the Department of Justice to protect the environment of the State of Louisiana. The bottom line is that polluters know that they will not be able to cut corners at the expense of the State's resources and the safety of the public." "Companies should know that it's smarter and cheaper to obey the law and prevent pollution in the first place, rather than pay fines and cleanup costs that result from illegal mismanagement of wastes," said Steven Herman, EPA's Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

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