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GAO: Bankruptcy Protects Environmentally Liable Companies

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

A report the GAO released last week faults EPA for not enforcing laws that prevent companies from ducking environmental cleanup costs by filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) requested the report in the wake of mining giant Arsarco's bankruptcy filing last week.

While the new bankruptcy bill passed this year holds individuals ever more accountable for their bills, companies that reorganize under Chapter 11 aren't exactly selling off their office furniture to pay their creditors -- executives protect their assets by "restructuring," while local operations shut down, leaving workers not only jobless, but also responsible for cleaning up the messes left behind.

The Tacoma News Tribune has more.