Indiana releases funds as final part of 2001 consent decree to clean landfill

Nick Rees Dec. 29, 2009, 3:24am

Greg Zoeller

CONNERSVILLE, Ind. (Legal Newsline) - The city of Connersville will receive a $500,000 transfer from the state of Indiana left over from the cleanup of a landfill to aid in rehabilitating the former Ford-Visteon industrial site.

Carbon Motors Corporation intends to open a large manufacturing site at the former Ford-Visteon site that would potentially create more than 1,000 jobs.

"Today's announcement is yet another big step forward and ample evidence of the strong cooperation between local and state authorities to create thousands of new jobs in an area experiencing greater than a 16 percent unemployment rate," William Santana Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Carbon Motors Corporation, said.

The release of the funds by the Attorney General Greg Zoeller's office and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management signals the final action in a nearly eight year old consent decree requiring remediation of the old Connersville city landfill.

In response to industrial wastes that had been disposed of in the Connersville city landfill, two lawsuits were brought in 2001 against the responsible polluters. Consent decrees were then reached that resulted in financial settlements paid into a trust fund that was created to remedy environmental problems at the landfill. A separate consent decree was entered into in 2002 between the city and IDEM. The city paid $600,000 into the fund and assumed responsibility for long-term maintenance and improvements of the landfill.

The city will be now able to use as much as $500,000 of the remaining $862,000 from the consent decrees' funds to redevelop the former Visteon Systems LLC facility, which is now known as 1 Carbon Motors Drive.

Any settlement funds remaining beyond the $500,000 applied to the cleanup and trustee costs may be used by the city to improve the former landfill site, which has now been capped and stabilized. The landfill will now be developed into a park by the city.

"Remediation of this industrial site protects the environment and once again makes the site suitable for production and jobs expected to come to the State of Indiana and the City of Connersville," Zoeller said. "The City has gone the extra mile to assume responsibility for the Ford-Visteon site, so I am pleased that the surplus landfill funds are available to help the city secure a future with Carbon Motors."

The city of Connersville entered into an agreement with Visteon in November to purchase the 183 acre, 1.8-million-square-foot industrial site following Visteon's seeking of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in May. The $500,000 may be applied by the city towards remediation of industrial contamination at the site, which was once operated by the Ford Motor Company. The total cost of the cleanup is estimated at approximately $4.03 million.

Carbon Motors Corporation announced in July that it had selected the Ford-Visteon site for its new planned headquarters, engineering, sales, service training and production facility. Carbon Motors will manufacture its law enforcement patrol vehicle - the Carbon E7 - at the site.

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