3M to pay $850 million to settle chemicals suit

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- 3M Co. has agreed to pay the state of Minnesota $850 million to settle a case alleging the manufacturer damaged the state's natural resources and contaminated groundwater by disposing chemicals over decades.

Attorney General Lori Swanson announced the settlement Tuesday, a few hours after jury selection was halted on the day the trial was scheduled to begin.

Minnesota was seeking $5 billion from Maplewood, Minnesota-based 3M in a case that focused on the company's disposal of chemicals once used to make Scotchgard fabric protector and other products.

Swanson says the money will be used to address problems created by the chemicals, known as PFCs, in drinking water. The contaminated area is in suburbs east of St. Paul.


Jury selection has been halted in Minnesota's $5 billion case against 3M Co., on the day the trial was expected to start.

Minnesota sued 3M in 2010, alleging the company damaged natural resources and contaminated groundwater by disposing chemicals.

Trial was set to begin Tuesday. Instead, the Star Tribune reports Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and 3M are expected to make an announcement Tuesday afternoon, which could indicate a settlement in the case.

Attorneys for all parties and a spokeswoman for 3M did not immediately return phone messages to The Associated Press.

The case focuses on the company's disposal of chemicals once used to make Scotchgard fabric protector and other products. The company denies it did anything wrong, insisting it was acting legally at the time.


The state of Minnesota is heading to trial in an effort to force manufacturer 3M Co. to pay $5 billion to clean up environmental damage caused by pollution.

Jury selection begins Tuesday in the long-awaited case. Experts say it could have wide-reaching implications, in part because 3M and other companies legally dumped the chemicals for years.

The case focuses on the company's disposal of chemicals once used to make Scotchgard fabric protector and other products. The company denies it did anything wrong, insisting it was acting legally at the time.

3M stopped making the chemicals in 2002, but two years later, traces of it were found in groundwater. The state alleges 3M knew the chemicals were getting into the environment and posing a threat to human health.



 
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