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Delaware Companies Agree to $50 Million PFAS Settlement

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by Patrick J. Paul

In what has been described by some as a landmark environmental justice resolution, on July 13, 2021, Delaware-based companies DuPont, Chemours and Corteva agreed to pay Delaware $50 million according to a settlement reached in connection with contamination to the environment caused by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), often referred to as forever chemicals.

The settlement will result in a guaranteed $50 million payment to Delaware, to be paid immediately. Additionally, the companies will fund up to $25 million more if they settle similar claims with other states for more than $50 million. DuPont and Corteva each will contribute $12.5 million and Chemours will contribute $25 million. This cost sharing is consistent with a January 2021 binding memorandum of understanding containing a settlement to resolve legal disputes originating from the 2015 spin-off of Chemours from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company and to establish a cost sharing arrangement and an escrow account to be used to support and manage potential future legacy PFAS liabilities arising out of pre-July 1, 2015 conduct.

The settlement proceeds are earmarked for environmental restoration, improvement, sampling and analysis, community environmental justice and equity grants, and other natural resource needs. The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control will administer how the funds will be spent.

PFAS include a variety of chemicals that are associated with increased risk of cancer, including perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which was used in the production of Teflon and many other consumer products.