Monday, January 12, 2009

Perchlorate and bankruptcy

This is a short followup on my post of yesterday on perchlorate in the environment. The polluting site about which I wrote, located in Henderson, Nevada, is operated by Tronox, a spinoff from Kerr-McGee, which operated the site for many years. I was surprised to learn this morning, from an article in the Las Vegas Sun , that just today, January 12, 2009, Tronox has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The article says in part that when Tronox was spun off from Kerr-McGee, it assumed responsibility for cleanup of the perchlorate production site. It further states that "In court filings, attorneys for Tronox said the primary reason for the bankruptcy filing is the company's financial responsibility for environmental cleanup efforts at and around its BMI plant."

I don't know whether bankruptcy protection will have the effect in this case of releasing the company from its cleanup obligations. There is certainly plenty of precedent for corporate dodging of this kind, as evidenced by the investigations that U. S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and others have undertaken. We will have to see what follows from this latest development.

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