A federal bankruptcy court judge has given final approval to the Eastman Business Park clean-up settlement between Kodak, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, and federal agencies.
Under the settlement, Kodak will put $49 million into an environmental trust fund to pay for ongoing and future clean up and monitoring work at the business park and in the Genesee River. The DEC has agreed to provide an additional $50 million for remediation if costs exceed Kodak's initial investment. And if the costs exceed $99 million, Kodak and the state would split the additional expense.
But the agreement also spells out that the DEC's funding commitment is contingent on "the availability of funds appropriated by the Legislature." Leaving open the question, of course, of what happens if the money isn't there.
In the settlement, the DEC promises it won't hold the 1,200-acre business park's newer tenants and property owners liable for pollution caused by Kodak. Economic development officials and local elected leaders say the provision is crucial for attracting new tenants to the park. It'll also aid Kodak's efforts to sell the remaining 700 acres it owns.
An initial settlement reached by Kodak and the DEC called only for the $49 million trust fund. The federal Environmental Protection Agency objected, as did a coalition of environmental groups, citing concerns that cleanup costs could exceed that commitment. They were particularly concerned with pollution in the Genesee River — the extent of which isn't fully known. EPA endorsed the settlement once the state and Kodak agreed to provide additional funding.
The DEC press release says Kodak will conduct "an investigation to assess whether the Genesee River suffered damages associated with discharges from Kodak's operations."
The department will schedule a public information session to explain how it'll develop a remedial plan for the river, the press release says. A draft investigation report and remedial plan should be released for public review and comment by late summer or early fall, it says.