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Posted Thu Apr 8 2010: from Bloomberg:
Kalamazoo Cleanup Delayed After Lyondell Bankruptcy
Environmentalist Jeff Spoelstra says an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River that runs through toxin-laced land in southwestern Michigan was on its way to becoming safe again. The area, once home to Potawatomi Indians and Dutch celery farmers, was finally on the verge of getting cleaned up. Then, in January 2009, Lyondell Chemical Co. filed for bankruptcy protection. The Houston-based petrochemical giant argued in court that as it reorganized, it could avoid what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said were about $2.5 billion in cleanup costs for the river, which flows into Lake Michigan, and another $2.5 billion in liabilities at 10 other polluted spots across the country.... If a company has to pay the billions the U.S. seeks for cleanups, its debt investors can end up getting pennies on the dollar. If the decision goes the other way, the costs can fall on taxpayers. "It's a no-win situation," says Evan D. Flaschen, a bankruptcy lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, who isn't involved in cases mentioned in this story. "If the debtor can walk, the toxins keep boiling, often getting worse with time. If the debtor has to pay billions for a cleanup, they might go out of business, losing thousands of jobs. Pick your poison."... Companies in bankruptcy can argue that environmental liabilities are just like other claims -- and that they can ditch them to get a fresh start.... "It's the most-maddening thing," McKinney says. "It's the community that's going to lose."
[Read more stories about: PCBs, toxic water, corporate malfeasance, contamination]

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'Doc Michael says:
That smell of toxic bullshit? Lyondell says it "smells like money."

More stories:
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  • (Kalamazoo Cleanup Delayed After Lyondell Bankruptcy)
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