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W.R. Grace & Co. Agrees to Proposed Settlement Over Cleanup Costs

W.R. Grace & Co. has reached a tentative settlement with several government agencies regarding cleanup costs at 33 contaminated sites.

The deal would cancel bankruptcy claims by government agencies including the EPA and Department of Agricultures tasked with cleaning and maintaining those sites by providing an unsecured claim of $34 million and a high priority claim of $2.3 million.

The settlement was announced in bankruptcy court and confirmed by lawyers with the U.S. Department of Justice. W.R. Grace & Co. has been operating under Chapter 11 protection for the past six years and is in the process of emerging from bankruptcy.

Company officials have stated they will be able to cover all debts in full but that might change later this year when courts begin to determine how much Grace owes people diagnosed with severe health problems because of exposure to its products. Preliminary hearings are set for late January with victim’s lawyers arguing that awards for damages would far exceed the value of the company.

Several former Grace executives could find themselves in court later this year pending any further pre-trial appeals in an ongoing criminal case alleging that they knowingly endangered residents of Libby, Mont. and attempted to conceal information regarding the health effects of its mining operations.