Ford, U.S. reach $10.8M deal over Rouge cleanup

DEARBORN (AP) -- The U.S. government has agreed to pay $10.8 million to settle Ford Motor Co.'s claim for cleaning up its Rouge complex from pollutants dating back to its role as a military production site in World War I.

The Dearborn automaker sued the government in Detroit federal court in 2004. The complex opened in 1917 and made tanks, boats and other war materials in both world wars.

Ford filed terms of settlements for two properties last Friday, The Detroit News reported. The deals are open for public comment before being finalized.

The settlements would go toward the estimated $99 million future cost of the cleanup.

Ford sold the steel-making part of the site to Severstal Dearborn LLC in 2004. The two companies are to share the federal money.

The 1,200-acre complex has been home to blast furnaces, steel mills and foundries, as well as plants for metal stamping, engines, glass and tires. It has produced large amounts of coal tar and other waste. A May court filing said the site has as much as 65 million gallons of wastewater in ponds and lagoons.

Other environmental lawsuits remain unresolved.

In 2008, Ford and Severstal sued a unit of DTE Energy Co. over environmental claims. Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. sold 22 acres of its property near the Rouge complex to Ford in 1968 to expand a wastewater treatment plant. Ford said the property was heavily contaminated. MichCon countersued over what it said was environmental damage to its remaining property in the area.

MichCon also sued the U.S. government over the decision of the Army Corps of Engineers to re-channel the Rouge River in the 1960s, saying that caused the continuing release of hazardous chemicals.

Published: Wed, Aug 17, 2011


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