Friday, February 28, 2014

Kodak and EPA agree on clean-up plan for Eastman Business Park

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 9:45 AM

When a bankruptcy court decided that Kodak could emerge from Chapter 11, its permission was contingent on the company's ability to reach a deal with the federal Environmental Protection Agency regarding pollution at the site. Kodak and the EPA have made that deal.

Specifically, the EPA has endorsed the 2013 settlement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and Kodak, according to a press release from Governor Andrew Cuomo's office. Under that agreement, Kodak will establish a $49 million trust fund for clean-up work at Eastman Business Park and in the Genesee River. The state will provide an additional $50 million if Kodak's contribution isn't sufficient. And if the work exceeds $99 million, Kodak and the state will provide additional funding.

In return, the DEC promises it won't hold newer tenants and owners of the business park property liable for pollution caused by Kodak. Economic development officials say the promise is crucial to attract new tenants to the park.

Some environmental groups question the adequacy of the funding included in the agreement. They are particularly concerned whether there'll be enough money to do the expensive clean-up work in the Genesee River.

A slew of state and local officials hailed the agreement, however. Eastman Business Park is a critical economic development opportunity for the Rochester region and the state, they say. 

The agreement isn't final; it still needs approval from the Department of Justice and a bankruptcy court.

Once the agreement is approved, the DEC will manage the clean-up work at the river and the park, says the governor's office press release. The agency will investigate the contamination and develop a remediation plan for the Genesee River, the press release says, and clean-up work at the business park will continue. 

Kodak and DEC will also do public outreach regarding the clean-up.

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