Bryan Cohen Jun. 12, 2013, 6:15pm

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, as part of an effort to accelerate the cleanup of decades of contamination at the New Bedford Harbor, filed a joint motion to approve a $366.25 million settlement with AVX Corp.

The settlement, filed Tuesday with the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts, expedites the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyl contamination to reach cleanup goals within five to seven years instead of the 40 years current funding levels would entail.

The settlement was announced in October. Coakley's office and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Justice, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, reviewed and considered public comments before filing Tuesday's motion.

"This settlement is an important result for public health, the environment, and the economy of New Bedford and the region," Coakley said. "With a harbor free of PCB contamination, the City and its businesses can take greater advantage of the potential redevelopment opportunities in the area, building on the city's vibrant history. We want to thank the MassDEP, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice for their coordination and collaboration throughout this process."

If the $366.25 million, plus interest, cash-out agreement is approved by the federal court, it will be paid to the United States and to Massachusetts to prove more than 90 percent of the funding that is estimated to be needed to complete the PCB cleanup, including dredging the PCB sediments and disposing of them at a mix of confined disposal facilities on-site, confined aquatic facilities on the harbor floor and at off-site facilities.

The settlement modifies a 1992 joint consent decree that saw AVX pay $66 million plus interest for response costs and natural resource damages at the site.

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