MILWAUKEE, WIS. — Six parties including City of Appleton, CBC Coating, Inc., Menasha Corporation, the Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission, U.S. Paper Mills Corp. and WTM I Company today announced that there has been a $54 million settlement of certain claims related to the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site.
Earlier this morning, the United States and the State of Wisconsin lodged an agreement in federal court that settles certain federal government, state government and tribal claims against four paper companies and two municipalities related to historical PCB contamination of the Lower Fox River and Green Bay. As part of the settlement, the six settling companies and municipalities have agreed to pay $54 million for cleanup and natural resource damages and will receive protection against the claims of the non-settling parties. The settling tribes are the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin and the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin. The six settling companies and municipalities are City of Appleton, CBC Coating, Inc., Menasha Corporation, the Neenah-Menasha Sewerage Commission, U.S. Paper Mills Corp. and WTM I Company. The settlement will not be effective unless and until it has been approved by the federal court, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The settlement was filed in United States of America and the State of Wisconsin, Plaintiffs, v. NCR Corporation, et al, Defendants, Case 1:10-cv-00910-WCG, DKT 924 and 924-1.
The settlement amount and individual shares were negotiated over many months with the help of a mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge Aaron E. Goodstein. J.P. Causey Jr., the Vice President of WTM I Company, said, “The settlement is the result of many months of negotiations between many parties, and reflects the settling parties’ strong desire to resolve all claims and support the cleanup and restoration of the Fox River Site. This milestone could not have been reached without the able assistance of Judge Goodstein.”
The $54 million settlement amount is in addition to previous contributions by the settling parties toward site remediation and restoration. This settlement also follows several others between the governments and other municipalities, paper companies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, all of which have been approved by the federal court.
The settled claims relate to discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into the Fox River, originating from the manufacture of carbonless copy paper from 1954–1971 by Appleton Coated Paper Company and NCR Corporation in the Appleton area, and from the recycling of that paper by some paper mills throughout the Fox River Valley.
The paper recyclers and the municipalities that treated the parties’ wastewater did not know the paper being recycled contained PCBs until after Appleton Coated and NCR stopped manufacturing the paper with PCBs in it.
The six settling parties are represented by Quarles & Brady LLP; Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren s.c.; Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.; Hunsucker Goodstein PC; Davis & Kuelthau, s.c.; Stafford Rosenbaum LLP; and von Briesen & Roper, s.c.