GM’s Toxic Secret: RACER Trust’s Contaminated Properties

Did you know? In October of 2010, “Old” General Motors – now Motors Liquidation Company (MLC) – signed a settlement agreement with the United States (along with 14 states and one tribal government) establishing an environmental trust “to address contamination and position for redevelopment 89 industrial plants and other properties used by the former General Motors but left behind in its 2009 bankruptcy.”

Photo by eek the cat. Some rights reserved.

The Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (“RACER”) Trust became effective on March 31, 2011.

Of the 89 properties administered by the Trust, 59 are known to have been contaminated with hazardous substances or waste, and, of those, 15 are listed as “priority” sites. “Old” GM has contributed $773 million in assets to the fund, which will go toward the cleanup and administration of the properties and “their return to beneficial use.”

Worried about how bankrupt GM could afford such a bill? Don’t fret – by July of 2009, MLC had been lent $1.175 billion (“for the orderly winding down of MLC’s affairs”) by the US Treasury and Export Development Canada collectively.

At least this money is going to good use: the restoration of these properties provides an opportunity to “restore prosperity and return jobs to areas hit hardest by GM’s reorganization.” More than half of the funds in the Trust will go towards remediation of sites in Michigan and New York. For more information on specific properties, see the RACER Trust Properties Map.

You can find the terms of the Trust in the Environmental Response Trust Agreement, a copy of which was also filed along with MLC’s April 4th, 2011, Form 8-K. Alternatively, you can read an elegant summary of the news in this Pepper Hamilton Alert.

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