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Onondaga County wants more cleanup money from General Motors

onondaga lake.jpg
via Flickr
Chemicals from a former GM factory in Salina flow downstream via Ley Creek and into Onondaga Lake, according to local officials.

Earlier this week a judge approved a $773 million cleanup deal between the White House and Motors Liquidation Company (otherwise known as “Old GM”). The money will go to restoring toxic properties where former plants once stood. The Inland Fisher Guide plant in Salina, N.Y. is among the properties included in the settlement. There are 89 properties in 14 states total.

But the catch here is that the $773 million is for the toxic properties - not neighboring land that might be affected.

So clean up of lower Ley Creek isn't included in the settlement, even though Onondaga County officials had pushed for official recognition that a former GM auto parts plant on the edge of the waterway was the culprit behind a stream of toxic chemicals contaminating the creek.

Now officials are pinning their hopes on a separate settlement between GM and the county, according to Matthew Millea, deputy county executive for physical services. If approved, GM could be on the hook for $70 million for the cleanup of Ley Creek.  

Prospects for the county are looking good: Millea says an agreement could be finalized as soon as next week.

Meanwhile, the settlement to remediate the GM plant property itself is a positive step, according to Salina Town Supervisor, Mark Nicotra.

“It’s a good thing - don’t let me begrudge that, [it's a good thing] to get money into there and hopefully bring in more businesses,” says Nicotra.

Salina also has a heavy hitter on its side. New York State Attorney General Eric Schniderman praised the 14 state agreement, but said in a statement yesterday that his office will continue to seek more money from the auto giant for additional cleanup obligations.

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