Federal judge rules Appleton Papers not a potentially responsible party for PCB contamination of Wisconsin's Lower Fox River, says company did not assume liability under CERCLA Act when it purchased Appleton Papers Division from NCR

APPLETON, Wisconsin , April 11, 2012 (press release) – Recognizing that Appleton Papers Inc. (API) did not assume liability under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability (CERCLA) Act when it purchased Appleton Papers Division from NCR, Federal Judge William Griesbach yesterday granted API’s Motion for Reconsideration, ruling that API is therefore not a potentially responsible party for PCB contamination of the Lower Fox River.

Judge Griesbach’s decision removes API as a defendant in the ongoing litigation among the remaining parties responsible for discharging PCBs into the Lower Fox.

“Judge Griesbach’s decision is a significant and long-sought victory for API,” said Katherine Querard, spokeswoman for API. “API is pleased that it can no longer be held liable for others’ polluting activities.”

API came into existence in 1978, when it purchased the facilities of the former Appleton Coated Paper Company and Combined Locks paper mills from NCR. PCBs were banned in 1976.

API has been the largest contributor to the cost and the success of the Lower Fox River clean-up. Through Lower Fox River Remediation LLC, a special-purpose company it set up with NCR Corporation, API has expended significant time and resources – over $200 million to date – to achieve this massive clean-up on an accelerated time schedule that exceeded all expectations.

The numbers speak for themselves. In just three years of dredging and processing, API can report that over 32 miles of the Lower Fox – some 2 billion gallons of water – have been treated and cleaned. To date, the clean-up has provided many Wisconsin residents with meaningful jobs for three straight years in a difficult economy. API is proud to have accomplished so much for the people of Wisconsin.

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