Federal Judge Orders $20 Million Superfund Clean-Up in Crittenden County

MARCH 5, 2004 - Posted at 7:34 a.m. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS, AR - An east Arkansas oil field waste dump is the subject of a $20 million federal clean-up order.

U.S. District Judge Stephen Reasoner has ruled that William M. Gurley must pay the sum to clean and maintain the site at Edmunson.  The Gurley Pit Site has been the subject of a fight over clean-up costs for 17 years.

Processed oil waste has been dumped at the West Memphis site since 1979 and at Edmunson since 1970.  The Department of Justice sued Gurley in 1987 and the state of Arkansas joined the suit.  Gurley may still appeal the ruling.

Arkansas Attorney General Mike Beebe says the order saves the state $2 million in federal costs it now doesn't have to be reimbursed.  The order also covers the next 30 years of future costs.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)