City of Fort Bragg – dragged into cost recovery suit for mill site cleanup.

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Article courtesy by Willitsnews advocate staff, submitted by City Manager Linda Ruffing  | Novermber 21, 2012 | Source: Willitsnews

The City of Fort Bragg has been pulled into a complicated lawsuit that was initiated in June when Georgia-Pacific LLC (“G-P”) filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against OfficeMax Incorporated and Boise Cascade, LLC seeking recovery of response costs that G-P has incurred and will continue to incur relating to the ongoing clean-up of G-P’s 415-acre former timber mill site (“Mill Site”) in Fort Bragg.

Operations on the mill site were established by the Union Lumber Company in 1885. In 1968, the Union Lumber Company merged with Boise Cascade Corporation who then sold the mill site to G-P in 1973. Boise Cascade Corporation changed its name to OfficeMax in 2004, at which time Boise Cascade LLC acquired the forest products and paper assets of OfficeMax. As former owners and operators of the site, OfficeMax and Boise Cascade LLC may be liable for a portion of the site cleanup pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Contamination and Liability Act (“CERCLA”). The court filing indicates that, as of Dec, 31, 2011, G-P had expended approximately $31,400,000 in site investigation and clean-up costs at the mill site, and significant future costs are anticipated.

In late summer, the City received a Claim for Damages from OfficeMax and Boise Cascade LLC alleging that the City’s current and historical stormwater system conveys significant quantities of toxic substances onto the G-P mill site. The complaint asserts that the City is liable to contribute to and reimburse OfficeMax and Boise Cascade LLC for damages and costs. The City rejected the claim and on Nov. 8, the court granted a motion by OfficeMax and Boise Cascade LLC to bring both the City and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation into the G-P v. OfficeMax litigation as third-party defendants.

According to Fort Bragg Mayor Dave Turner, “The City is prepared to mount the strongest possible defense to save taxpayers from footing any part of the bill for clean-up of the mill site property. After more than a century of industrial operations on the property, it is disappointing that the former property owners have pulled the City into what is likely to be a time-consuming and costly legal battle.”

Inquiries with regard to this press release should be directed to City Manager Linda Ruffing at or 961-2823, ext. 118.

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