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24 October 2003 – Prestige (Bahamas)
Spain met strong resistance from a number of delegations this week when it sought a payment on account from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund for the incident involving crude oil tanker Prestige.
Delegations to the IOPC Fund Assembly have spent hours trying to hammer out a compromise agreement over the request for an advance payment, causing major disruption to the assembly schedule. An agreement along the lines proposed by Spain would be a major departure from normal procedure where claims are pro-rated to ensure that all claimants are treated equally. Fund payments on the Prestige are at present limited to 15 per cent of the loss or damage sustained by the respective claimants. While some delegations have reacted sympathetically to Spain's request this week, there have been objections from the likes of the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, a source said yesterday. They are concerned that not only was there a big procedural rule change, but it might set a precedent for other spill cases. One further sticking point is that the Spanish government has not been prepared to place itself last in line for claims payments in order to allow private claimants to be compensated first, the source said. This was the procedure in the Sea Empress case and with the Erika. The Spanish government is understood to be resisting the suggestion that it step back on the basis that it could not commit public funds for the benefit of non-Spanish claimants. Ironically, the IOPC Fund is itself financed by international oil receivers. As of 8 October this year, 123 French claims totalling E 3.2 million ($3.7 million) had been received.
Portugal, with estimated clean-up costs of E 2.6 million, and the UK are yet to submit. Spain submitted a claim on 2 October for E 383.7 million for costs accumulated up to the end July. As of 8 October, 321 claims totalling E 530 million had been received.
21 November 2003 – The American Bureau of Shipping, ABS, says the first piece of steel recovered from the wreck of crude oil tanker Prestige “strongly refutes” Spanish allegations that the vessel was in poor structural condition before sinking off the coast of Spain in November 2002. The steel was recovered from the tanker by a Spanish expedition using remotely controlled underwater vehicles, ROVs, to cut and retrieve a section of hull plating from the starboard side of the vessel. In a statement, ABS said the sample met class rule requirements as it had a minimum thickness of 20.5 mm and added that the interior coating of the plate was in good condition with only “mild exterior pitting from corrosion”. Extensive close-up video footage of the vessel taken by the ROVs also appears to confirm that the plating thickness and condition were adequate, ABS added. The American class society has denied that it had ever received a fax allegedly sent in August, 3 months prior to the casualty, by the temporary relief master of the vessel. ABS has conducted an extensive electronic search of all fax transmissions received at that time and has no record of having received the alleged communication from the master. They pointed out that the confirmation of delivery message reproduced by the Spanish press carried the telephone number in Greece of a then defunct commercial affiliate of ABS and not the class society itself.
Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia published the alleged fax in which Capt. Kostasos Estratios detailed nine separate mechanical and structural defects on the vessel including cracking and corrosion in ballast tank number 3. If the alleged cracks were indeed present at that time, this would further support ABS' claim that the vessel suffered a weakening of the hull structure due to extensive lightering activities in St Petersburg that the vessel was involved in at the time the purported fax was sent. The No.3 cargo and ballast tank were subject to extensive steel renewals as part of the vessel's fifth special survey in China in 2001. The records of that survey have been subject to intense independent scrutiny and no such shortcomings have been identified.
19 September 2003 – Tasman Spirit (Malta)
Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has requested Sindh High Court (SHC) to allow it to discharge its obligation in respect of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit and join in the litigation proceedings initiated by six local insurance companies. Consequently, the SHC yesterday issued notices as requested by port authority.
The KPT counsel submitted that under Section 89 of the KPT Act, the trust was obliged to keep the port clear for traffic. The oil tanker had broken into two parts and one of them was precariously balanced on a rock. It might break loose and block the channel, which, in turn, would close the port. The counsel submitted that the company engaged in salvage operation had to bring in equipment to remove the shipwreck. It was not willing to continue the operation due to congestion. The ultimate responsibility to remove the shipwreck would lie with the KPT. He requested the court to allow the KPT to remove the shipwreck without shifting it outside the court's jurisdiction. It may be mentioned here that separately, a suit has been instituted by the Central, EFU, Adamjee, New Jubilee, Habib, and New Hampshire insurance companies against the Tasman Spirit, its auxiliary vessel: crude oil tanker Endeavor II and owners, M/s Assimina Maritime and M/s Andros Maritime of Greece, in the high court's admiralty jurisdiction for recovery of Rs 883,296,000 on account of the defendants' negligence in plying a ship that was not seaworthy.
Other vessels belonging to the defendants' vessels were detained and berthed at the Karachi port in pursuance of an interim order passed by Justice Ataur Rehman on 6 September. The notices in the new applications were ordered to be issued for 23 September.
20 September 2003 – KPT said this afternoon that the fate of crude oil tanker Endeavor II will be decided on 23 September when a hearing will be held in SHC. Meanwhile it remains detained at berth 16/17. It has a load of 39,000 mt of Iranian crude oil transferred from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit. The six local insurance companies have filed Admiralty Suit No. 20 of 2003, claiming about $15 million against defendant Asimina Maritime Limited of Valletta, Malta, and owner of Tasman Spirit.
24 September 2003 – The SHC allowed the KPT yesterday to remove or cause to be removed the shipwreck of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit from its present precarious position to a safer place within its jurisdiction. The consensus order was passed by Justice Ataur Rahman on an application moved by the KPT in a suit instituted by half a dozen insurance companies against the owners of Tasman Spirit and crude oil tanker Endeavor II for the recovery of Rs 883,296,000 on account of their alleged negligence in plying a ship unfit for a voyage. The trust stated in its application that under Section 89 of the KPT Act, it was responsible for keeping the port and shipping lanes clear for traffic. If the precariously poised wreckage of the oil tanker broke loose, the port would be effectively closed. Besides, the company engaged in salvage operation could not bring in the heavy equipment it needed for the operation due to congestion. The application was not opposed by the plaintiffs or the defendants and was allowed by the court. The defendants, meanwhile, waived notice of an application moved by the plaintiffs for transfer of the 36,000 ton of oil salvaged from the grounded tanker to the Pakistan Refinery, the consignee. They, however, sought time for filing a counter-affidavit and a rejoinder. The plaintiffs stated in their application that the consignment might suffer depreciation or cause further pollution or safety hazard if not promptly delivered to the consignee. The cargo was covered by the bill of lading and the insurers were entitled to seek its release, it said. The KPT application for joining in the proceedings as an intervener will be heard on 30 September, by which date the defendants will also file their rejoinder to the plaintiffs' plea for arrest and sale of the grounded vessel till a full and final settlement of their claims.
26 September 2003 – A 40 km2 oil slick off southern Pakistan has killed marine plants and is now threatening a vast unique mangrove forest, according to a preliminary ecological study received today. The study was carried out by 21 organisations including the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Pakistan's environmental agencies and a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) expert. The crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, managed by Greek company Polembros shipping, left Pakistan with its worst oil spill after splitting into two near its Arabian Sea port of Karachi on 13 August, 2 weeks after it ran aground in shallow water. The spill occurred in a rich tropical marine ecosystem area, home to extensive mangrove forests, Green and Olive Ridley sea turtles, dolphins, porpoises, beaked whales and several species of lizards and sea snakes. The study warned that a seasonal change in wind direction could push the slick towards an arid mangrove ground. “To the east of the grounding site are mangrove forests, the largest arid climate mangroves in the world... Cessation of the monsoon season and changes in the wind direction may reach the areas that are not contaminated so far.” A study showed that the slick of 28,000 ton of oil had cut off vital sunlight to microbial phytoplankton – organisms that provide a source of nourishment for many marine creatures. “Observations showed that the phytoplankton groups usually inhabiting this area during the July- September or monsoon period were either absent or were rarely present,” it said. The study called for in-depth ecological studies to assess environmental damage and a socioeconomic study to determine the damages that may be claimed. Pakistani port authorities have already claimed 1 billion dollars in damages from the ship's owners.
29 September 2003 – KPT said this afternoon that crude oil tanker Endeavor II, laden with 39,000 ton of crude oil transferred from the sunken parts of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, is still detained by order of SHC in respect of the admiralty case filed by six local insurance companies led by Central Insurance. The case is scheduled to be heard tomorrow. The Pakistan Refinery who imported the cargo has requested that it be offloaded in port.
1 October 2003 – The SHC directed the transfer of more than 36,000 ton of crude oil, salved from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit and presently stored in crude oil tanker Endeavor II, to the Pakistan Refinery Limited (PRL), subject to the condition that the PRL would keep this much quantity of oil in its storage till further orders. The oil would be handed over to PRL in the presence of the Official Assignee of the SHC and the PRL would submit a fortnightly report to the court in respect of the oil present in its storage. A single bench headed by Justice Ataur Rehman also granted an application moved by KPT and allowed it to become a defendant in the suit of six plaintiffs, Central Insurance, EFU Insurance, New Jubilee Insurance, Habib Insurance, Adamjee Insurance, and the New Hampshire against Tasman Spirit, Endeavor II and their owners. The plaintiffs had issued a marine cargo policy on PRL pursuant to which they insured the consignment of 67,532 ton of Iranian light crude oil to be transported to Pakistan by the defendant Tasman Spirit. The ship ran aground at the Karachi port on 27 July. The owners of this ship (defendants) arranged another vessel, namely Endeavor II, and more than 36,000 ton oil was salved and shifted to this oil tanker. Through the plaints, these six insurance companies have asserted the right of subrogation over the rescued crude oil. Their counsel Qazi Faez Isa has pleaded that Endeavor II arrived at Karachi port as lighterage vessel 4 days after the incident and even at that time its loaded draught was too deep to risk utilising it for the proposed salvage operation and the same commenced with the help of another light vessel chemical/oil carrier Fair Jolly after about 11 days of the incident. All this while, the oil continued to escape from Tasman Spirit. The loss was due to sheer negligence on the part of the defendants. On an earlier hearing of the suit on 6 September, the court had ordered arrest of both oil tankers/ships subject to the condition that they could leave the port if they furnished a surety equivalent to Rs 883.296 million, the sum claimed by the plaintiffs in the suit, with the Naazir of the SHC and this order still holds field. Two miscellaneous applications were filed in this suit, one by the KPT from becoming party to the matter and the second by the plaintiff companies for delivery of the salved oil to the buyer of the oil, the PRL. While granting the application of the plaintiffs, the judge directed that the oil be delivered to the importer, the PRL, in the presence of the official assignee of the SHC and the PRL would submit a report, every 2 weeks, about the position of its stores. The application of the KPT, moved by a former judge of the SHC, Shaiq Usmani, on behalf of the KPT, was opposed by plaintiffs and defendants alike on the grounds that it should file a separate suit in the same matter. The court, however, allowed the application and ordered listing of the KPT as defendant Number 5 in the suit. The defendants are being represented by Muhammad Naeem, Advocate.
7 October 2003 – Following their arrest in Karachi on Friday (3 October), seven crew members of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, together with Tsavliris salvage master Nikos Pappas, have had the terms of their detention in Pakistan eased again. Tanker operator Polembros Shipping welcomed a local court order to grant bail yesterday and said it was in the process of arranging for a bond to be posted with the courts to get the men, now said to include five Greeks and two Filipinos, released. However, the company added: “We and their families remain extremely and understandably concerned.” It noted that at every stage the crew has tried to help the investigation and salvage.
George Tsavliris, of the Greek-based salvage group that handled the lightering of cargo from the crippled tanker, echoed the sentiment. He added, though, that the conditional release of Mr Pappas was still “replacing a smaller cage with a larger cage.” The salvage master's passport had been confiscated and he is not yet allowed to leave Pakistan. It is understood that Mr Pappas' bond is for several thousand dollars while the sureties demanded for the crew were reported as just under $9,000 each. All men are being put up on the eighth floor of a hotel near the waterfront district of Karachi, but over the weekend, they were confined to their rooms with police guards at each door. The crew are said to have each been charged with six offences, five criminal, connected with the grounding of the tanker in late July and subsequent oil spill. Mr Pappas on Friday confirmed that all the men were being treated well. “That is not a problem,” he said. However, he added: “We are getting very little information about what is happening outside.” In his case, Tsavliris has heard nothing about any charges filed against him. Mr Pappas pointed out it is now 3 weeks since he was effectively detained. The Hellenic Chamber of Shipping has called for the immediate release of Mr Pappas and in a written statement castigated the approach taken by Pakistan.
8 October 2003 – Foreign Minister George Papandreou yesterday asked Pakistan to release the crew of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit, held in Karachi after the ship ran aground in July, causing 28,500 ton of crude oil to leak into the sea off the country's main port. Papandreou has asked for the immediate release of the vessel's captain and four other crew members so that they can return to Greece until their trial by a Pakistani court on charges of negligence in handling the ship's entry into the port.
20 October 2003 – The beach cleaning operation undertaken after the oil spill from crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit has now been stopped as the authorities feel that the beach has almost been restored to its former state.
However, scientists and damage control personnel who have regularly been visiting the beach maintain that oil is still reaching it and the cleaning operation will have to be relaunched once the wreckage is removed. It is believed that about 30,000 ton of oil was spilt from the vessel. The details of the official preliminary inquiry into the grounding is yet to be made public, while the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) procedure, suggested by a federal government committee for evaluation of the spills' impact on the environment remains to be kicked-off. Estimating that 40 per cent of the total amount of crude oil that was spilt into the sea might have evaporated, some experts have said about 18,000 ton of oil reached the coastline, contaminating the sand or settled down in the seabed as residue after chemically reacting with the dispersant that was sprayed.
28 October 2003 – Judicial Magistrate West Mumtaz Solangi dismissed the bail application of seven members of the crew of crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit after Dockyard police submitted an interim charge sheet of the case registered by them. The court also turned down the application of the Salvage Master of the ship, Nicholas Pappas, who had sought to proceed to Greece to attend last rituals of his grandfather who died a few days back. The same court dismissed another application seeking dismissal of the case. The crew of Tasman Spirit was booked by the Dockyard police under section 280, 285, 431 of the Maritime Security Ordinance read with section 566 of the KPT Act and section 89 and 90 of the Port Security Force Ordinance 2002. The bail application was filed by M. Illyas Khan advocate wherein it was pleaded that the police failed to submit a charge sheet of the case within stipulated period of time. Thereafter, the court had directed the investigation officer to submit the final charge sheet before the court, but he failed to comply with the same. In the circumstances, the counsel contended, it was apparent that prosecution did not stand on strong footing and the accused were liable to facility of release on bail. He had also contended that, as the directions of the court were not complied with, it constituted contempt of court. Mehmood Alam Rizvi, for the KPT, opposed the bail and contended that considering the extent of damages and issues involved, it was a difficult investigation, particularly for police officers who rarely dealt with such cases involving serious technicalities. He said the delay in submission of the charge sheet was not mala fide, but reflected the cautious approach of the investigating officer.
When the matter came up, the investigating officer submitted an interim charge sheet against the master and six other members of the crew of the ship. In the changed situation, the court dismissed the bail application of the accused and directed the police to submit the final charge sheet on next hearing of the case. The application of the Salvage Master of the ship, Nicholas Pappas, seeking return of his passport, was also dismissed by the magistrate after the KPT counsel pleaded that the crime the applicant was charged with was punishable with 2 years imprisonment and $100 billion fine. If the accused furnished surety of this amount he would have no objection to the return of his passport and his leaving the court to attend the funeral of his grandfather, who had died in Greece. PPI adds: Justice Shabbir Ahmed of the SHC adjourned till 11 December hearing of a suit filed on behalf of the citizens of Karachi by MNA Sherry Rahman against the federation, KPT, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation and Environment Protection Agency for recovery of Rs 10 billion as damages injunction arising from the Greek oil-tanker, Tasman Spirit, with observation that it should be heard together with the suit filed by the Trustees of Karachi port against the owners of the tanker and PNSC. When the hearing began before Justice Shabbir Ahmed, counsel for plaintiff Kamal Azfar, bar-at-law, pointed out that the KPT Trustees had filed suit, claiming recovery. He stated that it was contention in both suits that a sum of $1 billion was recoverable from the P&I Club in terms of international law and practice relating to compulsory insurance of the tanker. Azfar submitted that many other contentions, including unseaworthiness of Tasman Spirit, were common to both suits. He stated that in constitutional petition filed in the Supreme Court by Dr Amjad Hussain Bukhari, Advocate, in which Dr Pervez Hasan, the country's leading expert on environmental law was appointed as Amicus Curiae, had submitted his submissions before the apex court. He drew the attention of the court to submissions of Dr Hasan and endorsed suggestions that Karachiites would be satisfied if a high-powered commission, headed by a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court who resides in Karachi, was constituted to recover from insurers and distribute amounts for betterment of the environment of the metropolis and that it would be appropriate to await observations of the apex court in this regard. Justice Shabbir Ahmed adjourned hearing of the suit till 11 December with observation that the suit filed by Sherry Rehman be heard together with the suit filed by the KPT Trustees against the owners of the tanker and the PNSC.
20 December 2003 – Justice Ataur Rehman of SHC, has allowed the central State Bank of Pakistan and the private bank-Bank Al-Habibto transfer on behalf of Central Insurance Company and five other insurance companies a sum of US$4,122.88 million salvage money to the account of salvagers of the oil transported by crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit subject to the condition that the insurers would furnish an insurance guarantee equivalent to this amount with the Naazir of the SHC. It was submitted on behalf of Plaintiff KPT that it had learnt that the said Adm Suit No 20/2003 has now been settled between the Plaintiffs, i.e. the underwriters and the owners of the vessel consequent whereupon the Underwriters are now required to pay the salvage charges and General Average contribution as determined by the average adjusters. The KPT earlier, had called upon the court to prevent the transfer of the $4.2 million to the claim settlement agent, which was for salvage charges and general average contribution. As a result, on 16 December Justice Khiljee Arif Hussain had granted the KPT interim stay and issued notice on the application to the respondent Central Insurance Company, the consortium of companies which had insured the cargo of the vessel. It may be mentioned here that following the grounding of Tasman Spirit and as per the settlement the underwriters had agreed to pay $4.2 million as salvage charges and the general average contribution to the claim settlement agent, W. K. Webster, London. Thereby, underwriters, Central Insurance Company, on 24 November wrote to the SBP seeking permission to remit $4.2 million through their bankers (Bank Al-Habib) to the settlement agent in London but KPT asked the court to issue an injunction restraining the SPB from granting permission for remitting the amount and if it had already been done, then restraining Bank Al-Habibfrom remitting the funds to the settlement agent in London.
23 December 2003 – Crude oil tanker Tasman Spirit: SHC has issued formal order in favour of Tsavliris Russ Ltd (Defendant No.1) and other by vacating the earlier order to facilitate the release of salvage tug SB-408 which is now released and is at liberty to leave the jurisdiction of the High Court, according to counsel, Aga Faquir Mohammad & Co., of plaintiff-Global Tradeways Ltd of UAE. The honourable court in a brief judgment said that on going through the documents filed with the counter affidavit to the said application and also after having meetings on this issue it was revealed that SB-408 is owned by a Russian company and the Defendant No.1 is a manager of said tug and therefore, the said tug be released. It may be mentioned here that Global Tradeways, the owner of lighterage vessel, chem tank Sea Angel, had filed a case in local court that their lighterage vessel was being detained at port although it had paid all the port dues incurred in lighterage operation of Tasman Spirit. Later, on submission of bank guarantee of Rs 1 million, it was released. Furthermore, Plaintiff also gave “No Objection” for release of SB-408.
24 October 2003 – Prestige (Bahamas)
Spain met strong resistance from a number of delegations this week when it sought a payment on account from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund for the incident involving crude oil tanker Prestige.
Delegations to the IOPC Fund Assembly have spent hours trying to hammer out a compromise agreement over the request for an advance payment, causing major disruption to the assembly schedule. An agreement along the lines proposed by Spain would be a major departure from normal procedure where claims are pro-rated to ensure that all claimants are treated equally. Fund payments on the Prestige are at present limited to 15 per cent of the loss or damage sustained by the respective claimants. While some delegations have reacted sympathetically to Spain's request this week, there have been objections from the likes of the UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark and Norway, a source said yesterday. They are concerned that not only was there a big procedural rule change, but it might set a precedent for other spill cases. One further sticking point is that the Spanish government has not been prepared to place itself last in line for claims payments in order to allow private claimants to be compensated first, the source said. This was the procedure in the Sea Empress case and with the Erika. The Spanish government is understood to be resisting the suggestion that it step back on the basis that it could not commit public funds for the benefit of non-Spanish claimants. Ironically, the IOPC Fund is itself financed by international oil receivers. As of 8 October this year, 123 French claims totalling E 3.2 million ($3.7 million) had been received. Portugal, with estimated clean-up costs of E 2.6 million, and the UK are yet to submit. Spain submitted a claim on 2 October for E 383.7 million for costs accumulated up to the end of July. As of 8 October, 321 claims totalling E 530 million had been received.
19 December 2003 – Exxon Valdez (USA)
A press report, dated today, states: More than 14 years after the non-specific tanker Exxon Valdez oil spill, contamination continues to ooze from the beaches of Alaska's Prince William Sound and populations of some marine species remain far below pre-spill levels. Low-level contamination in the region has reduced survival rates for pink salmon, sea otters and harlequin ducks, says a study in the US journal Science. “The web of indirect changes is much broader than we would have expected,” said Daniel Esler of Simon Fraser University, a member of the research team. Prior to the 1989 disaster, research on oil spills had focused largely on visible, short-term effects, such as the number of dead birds and marine mammals. The Exxon Valdez disaster, in which 42 million litres of crude oil contaminated roughly 2,000 km of shoreline, led to a more comprehensive investigation.
Researchers spent years at the site of the spill and reproduced some of its effects in laboratory experiments. They found that, after an initial period of rapid weathering, much of the oil became trapped in sand and rocks, providing “an enduring route of entry into many food chains” for years following the spill. Killer whales, which are highly socially organized, showed higher mortality and suppressed rates of reproduction after losing key individuals. One pod was expected to disintegrate. In some heavily oiled areas, the sea otter populations have remained at half of the estimated pre-spill numbers, says the study. Normally, sea otters control the population of sea urchins which feed on kelp and other seaweed. With the decline in otter numbers, sea urchins overgrazed the kelp and eliminated habitat vital for some fish. Ironically, the massive clean-up effort following the spill caused additional damage. “They were using hot water at high pressure to clean the oil off the beaches and that pretty much denuded the inter-tidal (zone) of the creatures that were there,” said Esler.
9 October 2003 – Fox River, Wisconsin, USA
The US Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the State of Wisconsin have announced that they have entered into a settlement agreement with P. H. Glatfelter Co. and WTM I Co. for a $60 million clean-up at the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Site in north-eastern Wisconsin. The companies will also make a $3 million partial payment toward natural resource damages, and a $1.05 million payment to reimburse a portion of the costs incurred by EPA, the state, and the Department of the Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Fox River Site is one of the largest contaminated sites in the nation. Sediments in a 39-mile stretch of the Fox River and in Green Bay are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls. The contamination was caused by paper companies that produced and reprocessed PCB containing “carbonless” copy paper from the 1950s until at least the early 1970s.
To help manage the clean-up, EPA and the state have divided the site into five separate areas, known as Operable Units 1 through 5. A total of about 7.25 million cubic yards of contaminated sediment would be dredged from several of the Operable Units under clean-up plans announced by the EPA and the state earlier this year. The cost of the entire clean-up has been estimated at approximately $400 million. The paper companies are also liable for payment of damages for PCB related injuries to fish, birds, and other natural resources. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated the total natural resource damages at between $176 and $333 million. The agreement would require Glatfelter and WTM I to perform and finance the clean-up work using a specially dedicated fund to be established by the companies. That fund would ultimately hold more than $60 million, including $50 million from WTM I and Glatfelter, an additional $10 million available under a prior interim settlement with Appleton Paper Inc. and NCR Corporation, and all interest earned on the money placed in the fund. If that dedicated fund is not sufficient to finance the completion of the work, the agreement would reserve the United States' right to require Glatfelter and WTM I to perform or pay for the continuation and completion of the work. This settlement would not resolve the companies' liability for clean-up anywhere at the site outside of Operable Unit 1. The settlement would also not resolve the companies' liability for natural resource damages or cost reimbursement, although the agreement would require Glatfelter and our Disputes/Awards and Settlements WTM I to make significant payments to reduce those liabilities. The Federal, State, and Tribal natural resource trustees would select all restoration work to be funded with the companies' $3 million natural resource damages payment. The terms of the settlement with Glatfelter and WTM I are included in a proposed Consent Decree filed with the US District Court in Milwaukee.
The Justice Department will accept public comments on the proposed Consent Decree before seeking final court approval of the settlement.