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Shell, Army reach $35M Arsenal settlement with state

Shell, Army reach $35M Arsenal settlement with state

Denver Business Journal – by Mark Harden Denver Business Journal

Shell Oil Co. and the federal government have agreed to a $35 million payout to settle the state of Colorado’s quarter-century-old lawsuit over pollution at the Army’s former Rocky Mountain Arsenal on the outskirts of Denver.

An agreement in principal was announced Thursday by Gov. Bill Ritter and state Attorney General John Suthers in a news conference at the state Capitol.

Under the settlement, Shell will provide $21 million in cash and land and the federal government the equivalent of $14 million, including credit for past construction of a water-treatment plant.

“The funding contained in this settlement will provide long-term compensation to the citizens along the South Platte who have been affected by the natural resource damages at the arsenal,” Ritter said at the news conference.

The Army opened the 27-square-mile arsenal in World War II and used it to make chemical warfare agents and incendiary munitions.

Part of the site was leased in 1952 to Shell, which for three decades made pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and other chemicals there.

The state filed suit in 1983, alleging natural-resource damage, including contaminated groundwater.

The arsenal — just west of Denver International Airport — was added to the Superfund program to clean up contaminated sites in 1987. Part of the site has since become a wildlife refuge.

He credited the attorney general’s office under Suthers and his predecessor, current U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar, as well as other state officials with helping to negotiate the “historic settlement.”

Suthers said significant progress was made in long-running talks with Shell and the Army over the last several months, leading to Thursday’s announcement.

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