Arizona AG leads cleanup effort of paper mill site

By Bryan Cohen | Dec 21, 2012

PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne announced Wednesday that action taken by the state will force a necessary environmental cleanup to continue at the site of a former eastern Arizona paper mill.

Horne's office joined with the Arizona State Land Commissioner, the Department of Environmental Quality and Navajo County officials to ensure that the now-shuttered paper mill owned by the Catalyst Paper Corporation of Canada would remediate its environmental impact after entering bankruptcy court proceedings. In last minute negotiations, the company agreed to provisions as part of a court order that would make sure the company would continue to remain environmentally liable for the site despite bankruptcy proceedings.

"Arizona welcomes capital investment and jobs from businesses from all over the world, but these businesses also must honor their commitments, including agreements to ensure environmental compliance, when they depart our state," Horne said. "My office will be vigilant in protecting Arizona tax payers from any entity that attempts to avoid any of its corporate responsibilities. I am extremely proud of my staff; they moved expeditiously to coordinate among our state agencies, the Department of Justice and Navajo County officials to get this job done."

The Catalyst Paper Corporation recently closed the Catalyst Paper Mill in Navajo County, laid off workers and appeared ready to abandon the site without environmental remediation.

The proposed court order provides that the state of Arizona, Navajo County, nearby cities and adjoining landowners maintain the right to pursue Catalyst Paper for any environmental damage found in the future on the site.

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