The 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill was one of the greatest environmental disasters in history, per Time, but what DuPont did to a New Jersey town of 8,000 is "worse," according to a lawsuit. Carneys Point Township says DuPont dumped 100 million pounds of toxic waste at a 1,400-acre chemical manufacturing complex two miles outside of town, near the Delaware River, and must now establish a $1.1 billion remediation trust. DuPont—which used mercury, benzene, and ethyl chloride at the site—has previously settled lawsuits related to contaminated drinking water in the area. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection says it will be 999 years before groundwater is safe to drink, reports Courthouse News.
DuPont transferred ownership of the complex—known as the Chambers Works Site—to spinoff company Chemours in 2015, but Carneys Point says that by failing to notify regulators of the change, DuPont side-stepped a law that would have forced it to first clean up hazardous waste at the site. DuPont simply sought "to shed 100 years of accumulated environmental liability to become a more attractive merger partner" for Dow Chemical, the lawsuit states. The town now fears the proposed $130 billion DuPont-Dow merger will force Chemours into bankruptcy, meaning "Chambers Works would be left as a rusting industrial nightmare that the residents of New Jersey will be left to clean up without the funds to do so."