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Companies, EPA near deal on Alabama PCB cleanup plan

Chemické látky
Companies, EPA near deal on Alabama PCB cleanup plan
ATLANTA - Three companies found liable for chemical contamination in Alabama are expected to finalize an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on a cleanup plan, an EPA aide said.
A consent decree between the EPA and Monsanto Co. , Solutia Inc. and Pharmacia Corp. is expected to be filed this week in a federal court, said Carl Terry, a spokesman for the EPA in Atlanta. \"It\'s still being worked out,\" he said. Consent decrees are contracts approved and sanctioned by the courts. They are almost always final and rarely can be appealed. According to the EPA, the decree with the companies calls for a comprehensive evaluation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) produced by a former plant Monsanto owned in Anniston, Alabama. The study would be used to fashion a cleanup plan. Monsanto, which spun off its Solutia chemicals business in 1997, produced PCBs in Anniston between 1935 and 1971. The chemicals are believed to be responsible for causing multiple types of skin ailments, reproductive disorders, liver disease, cancers, cerebral palsy and other diseases. Solutia has said there are contradictory studies on the health effects of PCBs. Last month, an Alabama jury found the companies liable for contaminating property in the state. Donald Stewart, one of the attorneys representing 3,500 plaintiffs in the suit, said the jury could assess damages against the companies in the next two weeks. In March 2000, what remained of Monsanto after the Solutia spin-off merged with drugmaker Pharmacia. Later that year, Monsanto was spun off as a biotechnology and agriculture firm and has distanced itself from the Alabama lawsuit. In New York Stock Exchange trading this week, Monsanto shares rose 14 cents to $31.21, while Solutia was up 3 cents at $7.85. Pharmacia shares eased 18 cents to $45.82. REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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