Health

Momentive reaches settlement to pay $2.3 million in fines, other payments

WATERFORD — Momentive Performance Materials will pay $2.3 million in fines and other costs to settle complaints of air, water and hazardous waste pollution dating to 2007, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced Tuesday.

Under an agreement with the state, the silicone manufacturer will pay a $1 million penalty to resolve violations of federal and state laws regarding air and water pollution. It will also pay an additional $1 million to fund an as-yet unspecified environmental benefit project for the surrounding communities.

The company will also forgive a $300,000 bill that the Waterford-Halfmoon school district was to pay Momentive from a prior property tax dispute.

“DEC … looks forward to working with the Waterford and Halfmoon communities to implement this million-dollar Environmental Benefit Project as we continue to provide rigorous oversight of Momentive’s operations,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a prepared statement about the settlement.

Environmental benefit projects generally “must improve, restore, protect, or reduce risks to public health or the environment beyond that achieved by a respondent’s full compliance with applicable laws and regulations,” according to DEC.

“This resolves some long-standing enforcement actions on the part of DEC. I give DEC credit for coming to this settlement and I give Momentive credit,” said Waterford Supervisor Jack Lawler. “This is good news for the community.” 

He said he’d have to learn more about the available options before commenting on what kind of environmental benefit project might be funded by the agreement. “We have no shortage of projects and environmental projects that we would like to see done,” he said.
 
The agreement settles all violations at the plant dating to 2007, including complaints of air emission and water discharge violations as well as problems with solid waste disposal. Many of the problems focused on air emissions.

As part of the agreement, Momentive, which is located along the Hudson River, is undertaking upgrades to prevent future possible spills or violations.

Momentive Final Order 4 21 by rkarlin on Scribd

It also comes as the company is shifting from mass production of silicones to specialty silicones, which are seen as more profitable.

A consortium of hedge funds purchased the Momentive plant from General Electric Co. in 2006 when GE was exiting the silicone business. The company was again sold in 2019 to a group of investors based largely in South Korea.

Momentive was hit by a strike in 2016 and 2017 during which time some of the hazardous waste violations were cited.

In 2017, Momentive agreed to pay a $1.25 million civil penalty dating to 2006. 

In that instance, state and federal officials said that workers at Momentive had circumvented a system designed to control the amount of hazardous waste being burned in the plant incinerator.

News of the settlement was a relief for Waterford-Halfmoon school Superintendent Patrick Pomerville. The district had been making payments to Momentive on more than $3 million in property tax refunds, dating from a court settlement in which the company successfully argued for a reduction in the plant’s assessed value.

As part of Tuesday’s settlement, the district won’t have to make an upcoming $300,000 payment to Momentive.


Pomerville said the district wasn’t involved in the negotiations between DEC and Momentive, but the canceled payment will help its finances and be appreciated by district taxpayers.

[email protected] 518 454 5758 @RickKarlinTU 

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