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Dow agrees to $77M environmental settlement

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Dow Chemical Co. has agreed to fund environmental restoration projects worth an estimated $77 million to compensate for decades of pollution by its plant in Midland, Michigan, officials said Friday.

A deal between the company and government agencies calls for improvements to fish and wildlife habitats tainted by dioxins and other hazardous substances from Dow’s manufacturing complex in its headquarters city of Midland.

The chemical giant also will pay for new public recreation areas with trails, fishing platforms and boating launches.

“This settlement has been more than a decade in the making by a combined team of state, federal and tribal partners working together for the benefit of Michigan’s environment and precious natural resources,” state Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

The agreement would be legally binding and needs a federal judge’s approval to take effect. It would resolve a complaint filed by government agencies that alleges the company’s pollution harmed birds, fish, invertebrates and mammals in the Tittabawassee and Saginaw rivers and their watersheds.

Dow’s facility began operating in 1897. For generations it dumped or incinerated wastes that contaminated the 50-mile-long river valley, which extends into Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, with dioxins and related compounds linked to cancer and other illnesses.