We celebrated a huge victory this month, thanks to the efforts of our Ecology Division. After a four year legal battle, our lawyers secured a $188 million dollar settlement from ASARCO—making it the largest environmental bankruptcy payout in Washington State history.
Mining giant ASARCO filed for bankruptcy in 2005, and was subsequently sponsored by Groupo Mexico. In response, the Washington State Attorney General’s Office filed claims for past and future natural resource damages.
Funds will go directly toward improving air and soil quality at previous ASARCO sites.
The Tacoma Weekly quoted Washington State Public Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark:
Ridding the aquatic ecosystem of these contaminants and restoring ecosystem function not only contributes greatly to the cleanup of Puget Sound, but confirms our commitment to a clean and healthy Sound for this and future generations. … And into the future, we must find ways to support business and protect our important ecosystems at the same time.
This story also received coverage from the Seattle Times. For a full description of the settlement, check out our press release.
Helen Gaia Thomas