Formosa Plastics Corp (FPC, 台塑) has agreed to pay US$50 million to settle allegations that its plant in Texas spilled tonnes of plastic pellets and polyvinyl chloride powder into waterways near the Gulf of Mexico.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid on Tuesday announced the agreement involving the FPC plant in Point Comfort.
A judge in Houston is to consider approving the settlement, to be paid over five years into a fund supporting environmental water projects.
US District Judge Kenneth Hoyt in June ruled in favor of people who alleged that the FPC plant contravened clean water laws through discharges into Lavaca Bay and Cox Creek that began in 2016.
At the time of that ruling, the judge called FPC a “serial offender” that had committed “enormous” infringements of the US Clean Water Act and Texas state law.
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid, representing the plaintiffs, said that the consent decree means FPC also agrees to “zero discharge” of plastics and would clean up existing pollution.
The lawsuit was brought by former shrimper Diane Wilson and San Antonio Bay Estuarine Waterkeeper.
The company yesterday confirmed that it had settled the case.
After the case was brought to light earlier this year, FPC president and chairman Jason Lin (林健男) promised improvements to the system responsible for discharges of plastic pellets, also known as nurdles, and other plastic materials from the plant.
The company would stick to a policy of “zero discharge of plastic pellets,” Lin said.
Additional reporting by staff writer and CNA
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