Virginia LCV applauds record mercury pollution settlement

RICHMOND – Today, state and federal officials announced a $50 million settlement with DuPont for years of mercury pollution in Shenandoah Valley waterways. The settlement is the largest in Virginia’s history and the eighth largest in the U.S. behind environmental calamities like the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

All told, federal and state regulators estimate mercury pollution emitted from DuPont’s Waynesboro plant in the 1930s and 1940s impacted more than 100 miles of river and floodplain around the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River. The settlement will fund projects to improve water quality and habitat throughout this important watershed.

“This settlement is a huge first step toward restored Shenandoah Valley waterways and healthier communities for those who call the valley home and sends a signal to polluters that the health and wellbeing of Virginians comes first. It also brings to a close one of the longest environmental fights ever waged in the commonwealth,” said Michael Town, Executive Director of the Virginia League of Conservation Voters. “For years, these mercury-tainted waters were unfishable and put Shenandoah Valley residents at risk, especially children. We applaud Attorney General Herring and the McAuliffe administration for setting a major benchmark in protecting and restoring Virginia’s natural resources and urge them to continue doing the right thing for our environment.”