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L.A. AREA GOVERNMENTS TO PAY $45.9 MILLION FOR POLLUTING L.A. COASTLINE

 L.A. AREA GOVERNMENTS TO PAY $45.9 MILLION
 FOR POLLUTING L.A. COASTLINE
 LOS ANGELES, Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- State Controller Gray Davis, chairman of the State Lands Commission, today announced that approximately 150 Los Angeles-area government agencies have agreed to pay $45.9 million to settle a major offshore pollution case.
 "This is a first-of-a-kind settlement which requires polluters to pay for restoring the damaged environment to its original state," said Controller Davis. "We intend to vigorously pursue our case against the other polluters to force them to pay their fair share of the restoration costs."
 The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed in 1990 by the Lands Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with other state and federal agencies, against eight Los Angeles-area industrial companies for polluting the coastal waters of Los Angeles by dumping thousands of tons of poisonous DDT and PCBs into the Pacific Ocean through the L.A. County sewer and storm drainage system. The toxic discharges occurred for more than 25 years up until the early 1980s.
 The partial settlement is between the state and federal government and the Los Angeles County Sanitation District and about 150 local government agencies in the greater Los Angeles area that were named by the industrial companies as defendants in a cross complaint. The case against the companies is still being litigated.
 In addition to seeking unspecified damages for the destruction of coastal natural resources, the precedent-setting lawsuit seeks restoration of the contaminated marine environment.
 DDT is a highly toxic pesticide that has been banned in the United States since 1970 and is known to cause birth defects in animals. However, it was still being manufactured after that date for use in other countries. PCB is a cancer-causing chemical that was once commonly used in electric transformers and carbon-less copy paper. Both substances break down very slowly and remain in the environment and food chain for decades.
 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has found extremely high levels of DDT and PCBs in the ocean floor sediment from state-owned land in the coastal area from the Long Beach-Los Angeles Harbor to Santa Monica Bay. Fish and shellfish caught in the area have been deemed unfit for human consumption by the state Dept. of Health Services because of DDT and PCB contamination.
 Numerous species of fish and wildlife which once populated the area are now considered endangered, most notably the brown pelican, peregrine falcon and bald eagle.
 In addition to the State Lands Commission and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the other plaintiffs are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Fish and Wildlife Service, the State Dept. of Fish and Game and the State Dept. of Parks and Recreation.
 The suit charges Montrose Chemical Corp. and its parent companies, Atkemix 37 Inc., Stauffer Management Co., ICI American Holdings and Chris-Craft Industries with DDT dumping. Westinghouse Electric Corp., Potlatch Corp. and Simpson Paper Co. are charged with dumping PCBs.
 -0 11/5/92
 /CONTACT: Edd Fong of the Office of State Controller, 916-445-1895/ CO: California State Lands Commission; Montrose Chemical Corp. ST: California IN: FIN SU:


SG-GT -- SF015 -- 8005 11/05/92 18:55 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 5, 1992
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