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Freedom Industries reaches $2.9 million settlement over Elk River spill

July 29, 2014
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<photocredit>Stihler Craig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service</photocredit>

Chemical company Freedom Industries Inc., which was responsible for the huge chemical spill in the Elk River in West Virginia early this year, has reached a tentative settlement with legal representatives of affected businesses and communities, according to the Wall Street Journal.

If approved in court, the $2.9 million settlement would cover the expenses for health studies and water testing among other projects of benefit to the affected communities and businesses that had to close down as a result of the spill. The settlement would also have to be approved by a bankruptcy court judge, since Freedom Industries filed for bankruptcy shortly after the incident in January.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the settlement does not include direct payments to individuals as compensation for water contamination, but will instead be used to fund projects that would benefit communities as a whole. The decision had been made because attorneys calculated that the less than $3 million settlement would result in each of the 300,000 affected individuals receiving about $10 in compensation.

If the settlement is approved, it would put an end to more than 20 lawsuits filed against the chemical company in the aftermath of the spill that took a week to clean up. Individual residents have the right to opt out of the settlement if they wish, according to the newspaper.

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