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Judge Rules Energy Company Responsible For Ashland Cleanup

Xcel Subsidiary Sued City, County Over Cost Of Superfund Site


A federal judge has ruled that a utility company will pay for the cost of cleaning up a Lake Superior superfund site, which could come with a pricetag of more than $100 million.

U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb has ruled the city of Ashland and other parties will not have to pay for cleanup of a decades-old superfund site on the city’s waterfront. An Xcel Energy subsidiary, Northern States Power, sued the city, the county and an electrical contractor to pay what it claimed was their fair share for the cleanup.

Xcel senior communications consultant Liz Wolf Green provided the following statement on Friday’s ruling:

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“We are disappointed in the judge’s decision despite evidence in this case which we believe demonstrated the responsibility of other parties. We are currently reviewing the decision and will evaluate our next steps based on the ruling.”

Xcel had also sued two railroads over responsibility for the superfund, and reached a settlement with them earlier this year.

City and county officials have denied any responsibility for contamination at the site. The city’s former wastewater treatment plant, a coal manufacturing gas plant, sawmills and a railway used to be located there.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said the area is contaminated with waste from a former gas plant owned by the Xcel subsidiary and other possible sources.