The U.S. government will pay $10.84 million to Ford Motor Co. to settle a lawsuit related to wartime contamination at Ford’s historic Rouge Complex near Detroit. Ford filed the lawsuit in 2004 for the recovery of cleanup costs, which are estimated to be at least $99 million.
The Ford River Rouge Complex is referred as “the world's most famous auto plant," by the National Park Service. The complex consists of majority of the 2,000-acre site that founder Henry Ford purchased in 1915. Two years later, the facility opened.
In World War I, this National Historic Landmark was used to build naval ships. In World War II, it was where aircraft engines and other materials were built.
When peace was restored, Ford then used the complex for auto and steel production. The steelmaking portion was bought by a unit of Russia's Severstal OAO in 2004. The settlement papers were filed last Friday with the U.S. District Court in Detroit. In particular, the U.S. government will pay $6,585,000 to clean up the Rouge complex.
It will spend $4,250,000 at a 48-acre parcel immediately to the southwest, which is used for wastewater treatment. The parties had a mediation before the agreement was reached.
The settlement needs the approval of the court. Ford said that the settlement was “fair, reasonable and consistent” with the statutory goals of achieving the prompt cleanup of hazardous waste. The filed papers indicate that Ford and Severstal has agreed not to file a suit against the U.S. government over the claims that the settlement covers.