The proposed merger of Midland-based Dow Chemical and DuPont is now part of a lawsuit filed by a town in New Jersey.
DuPont operated the Chambers Works plant near Carneys Point, New Jersey for more than a hundred years. Teflon was invented there in 1938.
But in 2015, the land, on which an estimated 100 million pounds of toxic chemicals have been dumped, was transferred to a new company. Hazardous substances including mercury, benzene and ethyl chloride were all used at the plant.
Attorney Albert Telsey represents Carneys Point. He says DuPont sold Chambers Works to a spin-off company to make DuPont a more attractive merger partner for Dow Chemical.
“What DuPont did,” says Telsey, “is to saddle this Chemours company with the weight of Dupont’s environmental legacy obligations.”
Telsey says Carneys Point officials don’t want to block the Dow-DuPont merger. They just want the site cleaned up as required by New Jersey state law. They estimate the cost of the cleanup of $1.1 billion.
The lawsuit was filed in New Jersey’s Superior Court. DuPont spokesmen have declined comment on the lawsuit.
Dow and DuPont’s merger is still being reviewed by numerous regulatory agencies and more than a half dozen state Attorneys General.
The European Commission review is viewed as critical to the merger going forward. After a few delays, the EC review is expected to be complete by February.
If the merger goes through, the two chemical industry giants will form one company worth approximately $130 billion. But the plan is for the company to break up into three smaller companies, each with a different focus in the chemical industry. Two of the companies would be based in DuPont’s home state of Delaware. The third would be based in Michigan.