The State of Delaware has settled a case with DuPont, Corteva, and Chemours over chemical discharges.
Under the agreement, the companies agreed to pay $50 million for, among other things, environmental restoration, improvement, sampling and analysis, community environmental justice, and equity grants.
The companies will fund up to an additional $25 million if they settle similar claims with other states for more than $50 million.
The agreement resolves the companies’ responsibility for damages caused by releases of compounds, including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (generically referred to as “PFAS”), subject to certain limitations. PFAs are sometimes known as “forever chemicals.”
In keeping with the cost-sharing arrangement entered into by the companies in January of this year, DuPont and Corteva will each contribute $12.5 million, and Chemours will pay out $25 million.
“We all need to work collaboratively, fervently, and quickly to restore our natural resources and support our most vulnerable communities,” said Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “Today’s agreement moves us miles ahead in that work. This is the most significant environmental settlement that the State of Delaware has ever secured, and it is being delivered on a timeline that matches the urgency of this moment. The real work still lies ahead, but I am grateful that everyone came to the table to chart a constructive path forward for Delaware, and I commit that our office will keep working to ensure justice – including environmental justice – for everyone in this state.”
“These companies have a long, proud history in our state. This agreement is a natural extension of that legacy and signifies a commitment to continue investing in the quality of life of our citizens and the health of our environment,” said Gov. John Carney.
Mark Newman, CEO of Chemours, stated, “We are privileged to live and work in this great state, and our actions today were very much motivated by our commitment to make a meaningful difference in the community we call home and our historical relationship with the state of Delaware. Rather than engaging in protracted and costly litigation, the state and our companies have set aside our differences and come together to put Delaware and its residents first.”
“This settlement could not have been achieved without the goodwill and assistance of all parties,” said Ed Breen, CEO of DuPont. “That goodwill is borne out of the companies’ more than 200-year relationship to the state, its people, and its economy.”
“Corteva could not have become who we are today without the people of Delaware, who are our neighbors and employees. That creates a special connection with the state and its people,” said Jim Collins, outgoing CEO of Corteva.
The settlement results from an investigation into the environmental impacts of legacy activities in Delaware led by the Attorney General’s Office, a release stated.
That investigation remains ongoing and is expected to result in additional recoveries from other parties or enforcement actions, a release from the Attorney General’s office stated. The settlement does not release or affect the liability of any other parties that may have caused damage, including PFAS contamination.
All of the parties to the settlement were once part of DuPont, which spun off Chemours in 2015.
DuPont later underwent a complex merger and spin-off with Dow that resulted in the formation of slimmed-down versions of DuPont and Dow, with Corteva formed from the agribusiness assets of Dow and DuPont.
Corteva handles another legacy from DuPont, the management of its pension program.
At the time of its spinoff, Chemours was viewed by some analysts as a way for DuPont to offload its environmental liabilities. Chemours unsuccessfully sued DuPont over claims that its former parent understated the environmental liabilities.
The companies later settled the dispute. (See story below)
The issue of DuPont’s environmental legacy became the topic of a movie based on the work of a lawyer that took the company to court and won settlements over issues related to the chemical discharges at a West Virginia plant. His work was the basis of the movie “Dark Waters.”
DuPont CEO Breen claimed the movie was inaccurate.