Official slams Goddard's proposed Honeywell settlement

Chris Rizo Aug. 16, 2008, 11:41am

Gary Pierce (R)

Terry Goddard (D)

PHOENIX, Ariz. (Legal Newsline)-A $6 million settlement Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard announced this week with Honeywell might be illegal, state Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce said.

The settlement resolves claims that Morris Township, N.J.-based Honeywell International released chemicals, including jet fuel and vinyl chloride, into the city's sewer system from 1974 to 2004 without a permit, was announced Thursday.

The settlement, yet to be approved by a judge, included a $5 million fine and a $1 million contribution to an air-quality cleanup project.

Pierce, a Republican, said it is that $1 million contribution to the Western Governors Association that might be against the law.

The contribution to the WGA's Western Climate Initiative redirects money away from the community affected by Honeywell's alleged wrongdoing near Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Pierce said.

"In this case, there is little if any nexus between the violations that Honeywell committed -- unlawfully contaminating groundwater in south Phoenix -- and the (project) you selected -- a $1 million payment to the Western Governors Association for the development of the WCI," Pierce wrote. "The lack of nexus between the violations and the SEP you selected violates the principle of environmental justice."

The letter to Goddard and Department of Environmental Quality Director Steve Owens was made public Thursday. Owens is also co-chairman of the Western Climate Initiative.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by the state in July 2004. The complaint alleged that Honeywell violated the Arizona Water Quality Control Act, Arizona Hazardous Waste Disposal Act and Arizona Underground Storage Tank Act.

"Arizona's environmental laws provide crucial protections for the health and well-being of our families, communities and natural resources," Goddard said in a statement announcing the settlement.

"Following those laws is part of doing business in Arizona. Anything less will not be tolerated."

Last month, Honeywell agreed to pay penalties of more than $3 million to Arizona's Maricopa County to settle air-quality-related claims.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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