For Immediate Release - February 15, 2011

AG Coakley's Office Will Recover Over $800,000 From W.R. Grace in Bankruptcy Proceedings

W.R. Grace Also Commits to Perform Ongoing Cleanup of Contaminated Sites

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has obtained a court order approving a settlement with chemical company W.R. Grace (Grace) which requires the company to pay for clean-up costs at nine contaminated sites throughout the Commonwealth, including four Superfund sites.

According to this order, approved by the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, MassDEP will receive over $800,000, plus accrued interest, to resolve claims by MassDEP against Grace for environmental liability at the nine sites. The order also requires Grace to pay for future cleanup costs and to perform cleanup work at several of the Superfund sites. Cleanup at many of the sites has been completed. The bankruptcy proceedings began in 2001.

The Attorney General's office asserted claims on behalf of MassDEP, as a creditor, in relation to the nine contaminated sites throughout the Commonwealth: the former Zonolite Plant site in Easthampton, the Daramic Plant site in Acton, the Cambridge Plant site in Cambridge, the Knox Trail site in Acton and Concord, and a pipeline site adjacent to the Massachusetts Military Reservation site in Sandwich, the Acton Superfund site in Acton and Concord, the Wells G & H Superfund site in Woburn, the Blackburn & Union Privileges Superfund site in Walpole, and the Sutton Brook Superfund site in Tewksbury.

"W.R. Grace has the means to pay its environmental liability to the Commonwealth and perform cleanup actions at its contaminated properties," said Attorney General Coakley. "We are gratified that the bankruptcy court agreed it would be wrong to allow Grace to walk away from its responsibilities."

"MassDEP is pleased that the settlement requires W.R. Grace to continue response actions at its sites and to comply with all of its consent decrees," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell. "It also reserves the Commonwealth's right to bring natural resource damage claims if such damages are found at the Acton Superfund site, Wells G & H Superfund site, or the Blackburn & Union Privileges site."

Cleanup of "Superfund sites" is performed under federal law known as CERCLA, which requires the parties responsible for the contamination to perform the cleanup under the oversight of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and MassDEP. The Commonwealth has an analogous "State Superfund" law known as "Chapter 21E." The Wells G & H Superfund site is the Woburn site chronicled in the book and movie "A Civil Action."

Grace filed Chapter 11 largely due to asbestos-related personal-injury lawsuits filed against it. On January 31, 2011, the court confirmed Grace's plan of reorganization, which was a major step in clearing the way for the reorganized Grace entity to emerge from bankruptcy.

The Commonwealth will receive $700,298, plus 4.19% accrued interest from June of 2005, and $105,582.97 for past costs incurred prior to and during Grace's bankruptcy, plus 4.19% accrued interest from May 25, 2010.

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carol Iancu of AG Coakley's Environmental Protection Division with assistance from Jennifer Davis, Jay Naparstek, Rob Lucci, and others at MassDEP.