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Environmental trust to help fund General Motors cleanup in Missouri

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 | 4:56 p.m. CDT

WASHINGTON — Missouri is one of 14 states that will benefit from a new environmental trust to clean up dozens of former General Motors sites across the U.S.

Officials said Wednesday that the Obama administration reached a deal on the $773 million trust fund, the largest of its kind in U.S. history.

The funds will target automotive sites containing hazardous waste that were left shuttered by the auto giant's bankruptcy last year. About half of the 89 sites covered by the trust are in Michigan.

Michigan will receive the largest share of the funds, at $158.7 million, followed by New York ($153.8 million), Ohio ($39.4 million) and Indiana ($25.2 million). The other states participating in the settlement include: Delaware, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The trust fund, which was proposed in May, was filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York and is expected to receive final approval next year. The deal involves the government; Motors Liquidation Co., which represents former GM assets that were not placed in the new auto company; 14 states; and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe in New York.

"This trust — the largest environmental trust in our history — provides support for aggressive environmental cleanups at these sites, which will create jobs today and benefit the environment and human health over the long term," said Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

General Motors Co. received $50 billion in government aid to get through its bankruptcy. GM is 61 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers and planning an initial public offering that will allow the government to begin reducing its stake.

Vacant properties, facilities and offices left barren by GM's bankruptcy will be razed or rehabilitated under the plan. The funds will come from more than $1 billion provided by the Treasury Department to wind down the "bad" assets of General Motors set aside in the bankruptcy.

The plan includes $431 million for states to clean up former GM properties and $262 million for administrative costs.

The funding will be overseen by Elliot Laws, a former EPA assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response during the Clinton administration.

The agreement was first reported by the Detroit News.


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