Auto Parts Co. to Pay $13.9M
Jun. 18, 2001
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ A maker of automobile lights will pay $13.9 million and plead guilty to criminal charges for dumping chemical-laden waste that killed millions of fish and fouled much of Indianapolis' drinking water.
If accepted by a federal judge, the plea agreement by the Guide Corp. will result in a $1.96 million federal fine, U.S. Attorney Timothy Morrison said Monday.
Guide will also forfeit nearly the same amount, representing the economic benefit it obtained from the dumping, in one of the nation's first uses of asset forfeiture to fight environmental crime, Morrison said.
The company also will pay $10 million to settle state and federal lawsuits. That includes $6 million to restock the river with fish and other wildlife.
Guide was accused of discharging 1.6 million gallons of water contaminated with industrial chemicals into the sewer system of the city of Anderson in December 1999. The water had been used to clean chemical tanks.
The chemicals killed an estimated 5 million fish in a 50-mile stretch of the White River downstream to Indianapolis.
The river supplies about 60 percent of the drinking water for some 800,000 people in and around Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Water Co. had to increase water treatment and draw additional water from other sources.
``This agreement has been accomplished in three-and-a-half months by new management,'' Steve Murray, Guide's executive vice president of human resources, said in a statement. ``It is an important step in resolving this matter and allows Guide Corporation and its employees to focus all their energy on the future.''