Acting N.J. AG reaches $130 million Pasaic River litigation agreement

By Bryan Cohen | Jun 12, 2013

TRENTON, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman announced Tuesday that several principal defendants in the Passaic River litigation have agreed to pay $130 million to resolve a portion of the state's claims related to contamination of the river.

The settling defendants include the Spain-based oil and gas conglomerate Repsol S.A., the Argentina-based energy conglomerate YPF S.A., TPF Holdings Inc. and YPF International. Other settling defendants include CLH Holdings Inc., Maxus Energy Corp., Maxus International Energy Co. and Tierra Solutions Inc.

The agreement comes after a recently announced $35.4 million proposed settlement with 258 third-part defendants. If approved by the court, the agreement will allow for the state to immediately proceed with claims against Occidental Chemical Corp., the principal defendant, for the majority of the state's damages and future costs.

Under terms of the agreement, the total exposure of the settling defendants to all claims for the Passaic River clean-up and removal costs and damages could rise to as much as $530 million, subject to certain conditions and exceptions.

The proposed settlement is scheduled to be published for public review and comment in the July 1 edition of the New Jersey Register. If approved by the Department of Environmental Protection, the settlement will be presented for final judicial review and approval in the fall.

The state launched the Passaic River Litigation more than seven years ago against Occidental Chemical Corp. and other companies associated with the former Diamond Shamrock Chemicals Co. plant in Newark. Diamond Shamrock manufactured pesticides and herbicides from the 1940s through the 1960s, including the defoliating Agent Orange chemical. The plant discharged known carcinogen dioxin over the year, as well as other hazardous substances, into the Passaic River.

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