-- Attorney General Anne Milgram announced
today that, as a result of state legal claims
settled in the bankruptcy reorganization of
the international mining and smelting firm
ASARCO, LLC, more than $30 million from the
bankruptcy estate will be paid to clean up
formerly-owned ASARCO properties in New Jersey.
former ASARCO sites to be remediated are an
approximately 100-acre property in Perth Amboy,
Middlesex County and an approximately 7,000-acre
property spanning parts of Manchester and
Berkeley Townships, and Lakehurst borough,
in Ocean County. The clean-ups will be handled
by the current owners of the properties using
funds made available as a result of the state’s
claims against the ASARCO bankruptcy estate.
trustee of New Jersey’s natural resources,
the state Department of Environmental Protection
(DEP) will also receive more than $1 million
for natural resource damages at another ASARCO
site in South Plainfield, Middlesex County.
In addition, another $250,000 will be paid
by ASARCO for natural resource damages at
the Perth Amboy property. As part of a settlement
between ASARCO and DEP, $100,000 of the $250,000
paid for natural resource damages at the Perth
Amboy site will be contributed to the cost
of cleaning up that property.
is an important outcome for the people of
New Jersey and for our environment,”
said Attorney General Milgram. “It is
also a good example of using litigation to
prevent New Jersey taxpayers from bearing
the high cost of cleaning up contaminated
industrial sites, and to hold companies that
– the American Smelting and Refining
Company – is a leading producer of copper
and one of the largest nonferrous metal producers
in the U.S.
The company filed for protection under Chapter
11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code in August 2005.
It was the largest environmental bankruptcy
in U.S. history and has resulted in the full
payout, plus interest, on claims of $1.79
billion for environmental cleanup and restoration
costs in 19 states.
the more than $30 million to be paid for remediation
in New Jersey, $14.1 million will be used
for cleanup of the former ASARCO industrial
property in Ocean County contaminated by mining
waste from ASARCO’s operations in the
1970s and 1980s.
mined minerals from dredged sand at the Ocean
County site from 1973 until 1982. Contaminants
on the property are primarily low-level, naturally-occurring
radioactive minerals such as uranium and thorium,
which were further concentrated as a result
of mining operations and the stockpiling of
mining waste. There are also contaminated
soils on the property as a result of fuel
Another $13.8 million from the bankruptcy
settlement will be paid for remediation of
the formerly-owned ASARCO property in Perth
Amboy, and $2.3 million will be paid to cover
past remediation costs.
Perth Amboy property was the subject of an
agreement between multiple landowners and
the DEP. The property is currently part of
a redevelopment project in Perth Amboy to
revitalize approximately 170 acres once used
by ASARCO for smelting operations and the
deposit of slag. ASARCO ran a copper refining
operation on the property from 1901 until
1976. Primary contaminants on site are arsenic,
antimony and lead. The contamination has affected
both soil and groundwater on the property.
South Plainfield ASARCO property that resulted
in payment of more than $1 million to the
state in natural resource damages suffered
groundwater contamination from such substances
as arsenic, chloroform, carbon tetrachloride
Attorneys General Franklin L. Widmann and
Rachel Lehr, of the Division of Law’s
Cost Recovery and Natural Resource Damages
Section, handled the ASARCO matter on behalf
of the State.