Clean-Up of East Arkansas Plant Site Could Bring Jobs

SEPTEMBER 5, 2006 - Posted at 7:59 a.m. CDT

HELENA-WEST HELENA, AR - Officials in Helena-West Helena hope that a lawsuit aimed at cleaning up a contaminated chemical plant site will attract a new industry, bringing new jobs to an area with a 10 percent unemployment rate.

Mayor James Valley says they're in "desperate shape trying to get jobs."

The Cedar Chemical Corporation, which went bankrupt in 2002, once made herbicides, pesticides and chemicals.  The Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality has sued three companies that operated at the site, accusing them of contaminating the land and posing a threat to the alluvial aquifer underground.

The lawsuit, filed in July in Phillips County Circuit Court, seeks $1.5 billion in clean-up costs, plus reimbursement for the money the state's already spent cleaning up the site, an estimated $800,000.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)