Bankrupt polluter settles with Oregon DEQ for $67 million
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has reached a settlement agreement with Kaiser Gypsum, the former fiber board manufacturer in St. Helens.
Under the proposed settlement, Kaiser Gypsum would pay DEQ $67 million. If the settlement is approved, it will be the largest settlement for any single site cleanup in Oregon DEQ history, according to Sarah Greenfield, the DEQ cleanup project manager and engineer
Kaiser Gypsum filed for bankruptcy in September 2016. The settlement agreement is part of the bankruptcy proceedings, which means it will not be finalized until the bankruptcy court approves the company's full plan to resolve debts.
Even $67 million may not cover the costs of the cleanup.
"That's half of what they'll need to restore it," said Pat Welle, coordinator of the Scappoose Bay Watershed Council.
From 1956 to 1978, Kaiser Gypsum owned and operated production on the roughly 175-acre lot. Owens Corning operated the property from 1978 to 1981, followed by Armstrong World Industries from 1990 to 2018.
Armstrong closed the 130-worker plant last May. DEQ is receiving roughly $11 million combined from Armstrong and Owens Corning.
Click here to read the full story in the Columbia County Spotlight.