Niagara Gazette

Local News

July 2, 2014

FMC suing New York DEC, EPA

Niagara Gazette —

FMC Corp. is suing the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an attempt to allow the company to go with a less expensive and less intrusive way of cleaning up arsenic in the soil near the Middleport plant.

Filed in New York State Supreme Court in Albany, the DEC suit states FMC wants to go with a $27 million remediation plan that calls for less excavating than what the DEC's $70 million plan calls for. The DEC rejected FMC's choice.

Announced in 2013, the DEC’s plan calls for removal of contaminated soil at all locations and depths from at least 180 residential, commercial and farmland properties, including property of the Royalton-Hartland School District.

The properties, mostly residential, are centered around the Middleport plant just south of the Erie Canal and west of the county line. The targeted area also includes properties along the “Culvert 105” ditch that runs north of the village and east of a Jeddo Creek tributary.

The goal is to get those properties’ average arsenic level in the soil down to a reading of 20 parts per million, the average reading of properties in Middleport outside the remediation area.

FMC believes it can meet the goal with its own plan, which calls for far less soil removal and replacement in the apparently remediation-weary village.

“It is less disruptive to the community than the agencies’ selected remedy,” said Robert Forbes, FMC's director of environment, health and safety, remediation/governance. "FMC has always been committed to implementing a cleanup that's appropriate for this town and one that will minimize its impact on the town."

FMC filed suit in U.S. District Court in Buffalo against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, attempting to force it to intervene in the dispute between the DEC and the agricultural products company. Forbes said FMC is hopeful the suits will be successful. There's no telling when the court decisions will be handed down.

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