City Of Newark Files Lawsuit Against Dupont Co., Demanding Clean-Up Of Toxic Pollutants
Newark, NJ – March 13, 2015 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced today that the City of Newark has filed a lawsuit against the DuPont, Heubach and Cooks corporations, demanding cleanup of toxic chemicals and pollutants they left behind at a former pigment factory in the City’s Ironbound neighborhood.
DuPont Co. and others made significant profits at the property, but in the process seriously contaminated the land and water, risking the health of Newark residents. Though only two blocks away from a bustling neighborhood, the property sits empty, and is now a sprawling, derelict, hazardous 14-acre wasteland.
“After 30 years of broken promises, DuPont Co. and the other corporations who polluted this property have done nearly nothing to clean it up. Enough is enough. We have filed suit to force the corporations to thoroughly and expeditiously clean up the serious contamination they left behind, pay Newark the millions of dollars in tax revenues that they deprived the City, and enable us to transform Newark into a safer and healthier City that we can all believe in,” said Mayor Baraka.
The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection ordered DuPont to clean up the site more than 30 years ago. However, three decades later, the corporation has done nearly nothing to remediate the contamination they created, posing a substantial threat to Newark’s residents and the environment alike. The contaminants include carcinogens such as Hexavalent Chromium (the pollutant made infamous by movie “Erin Brockovich”) and toxins like lead and arsenic. In some areas, these contaminants register at levels that are several thousand times higher than legal limits.
The City filed one lawsuit in federal court, under a federal statute called the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). The City filed suit via RCRA’s “Citizen Suit” provision, which allows “any person” – including government bodies like the City of Newark – to sue polluters to force them to clean up contamination they created.
Newark also filed a separate lawsuit in state court, to force DuPont, Heubach and Cookson to pay the City the millions of dollars in tax revenues the companies have cost the City by failing to clean up the property in a timely fashion–resulting in the property which housed the former factory to lie fallow for more than a decade.
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