Federal Judge Orders Damage Assessment in DuPont Settlement

Posted: Updated:

A federal judge is ordering that the commonwealth and DuPont to provide a better assessment of the damage done by the company's mercury pollution of the south river in Waynesboro as he considers approving a massive settlement.

Judge Michael Urbanski issued this order Monday.

He's reviewing the proposed 50-million-dollar settlement that would require Dupont pay for projects to restore the river after decades of mercury pollution from its Waynesboro plant.

In the four-page order, Judge Urbanski says the proposed settlement seems to be based on estimated costs of projects to restore the waterway, instead of the actual natural resource damages.

He's requesting the commonwealth and DuPont provide a more detailed range of restoration costs that fully compensate for the damages.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the settlement with DuPont last December.

It is the biggest natural resource settlement in Virginia history.

The judge is giving both sides until July 24 to reply as he reviews the proposed restoration plan.

Statement from trustees in charge of DuPont's settlement: 

"As Judge Urbanski finishes his review of this matter, he is seeking limited additional information regarding the amount of settlement. The parties are working cooperatively to respond to the Judge in hopes of having a final order entered as soon as possible so important restoration plans can begin to move forward."