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Salina officials say $31 million from GM not enough for clean up

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Onondaga County officals wants the former auto giant to pay for cleaning all the contaminated portions of Ley Creek. Chemicals came from a former GM plant in Salina.

Officials in Onondaga County want the clean-up deal between old General Motors and the White House  to include the entirety of a stream that flows into Onondaga Lake.

The former Inland Fisher Guide plant, and the adjacent part of Ley Creek, are set to receive $31 million as part of a settlement between the Obama administration and Motors Liquidation Company (MLC, also known as “Old GM”). The settlement is worth more than $750 million, which will be put into a trust and shared among 14 states and one tribal territory.

But that's not enough to account for PCBs and other toxins that have contaminated Ley Creek, according to Matt Millea, Deputy County Executive for Physical Services in Salina.  Ley Creek flows downstream from the GM property and into Onondaga Lake.

"We want money for cleaning up the entirety of Ley Creek. Whether it's reapportionment or more money, we won't quibble about that," said Millea. "All we know is that when Ley Creek is cleaned up, the entirety will be funded by the responsible party, which is General Motors, Old General Motors, Environmental Trust- whatever it’s called - we would appreciate for them to pay for the clean up cost."

The Justice Department heard public testimony from locals at a meeting earlier this week. Those comments will be included with others collected throughout November. Once they’re reviewed, the federal government will decided whether the agreement needs to be amended before it’s finalized by a judge.

That means Onondaga County officials could get what they’re looking for if the feds decide to amend the agreement and MLC agrees.

Innovation Trail alumnus Ryan Morden is originally from Seattle. He graduated from the University of Washington with a bachelor's in journalism, minoring in political science and Scandinavian studies. Morden was Morning Edition producer and reporter at WRVO before moving over to the Innovation Trail project. Before landing at WRVO, Morden covered the Washington State legislature as a correspondent for Northwest News Network (N3), a group of nine NPR affiliates in the northwest.
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