— Nine oil refineries and chemical companies in the Lake Charles area have agreed to pay the federal government $5.5 million for their contamination of parts of the northern Calcasieu River estuary.

The settlement was announced this month by the U.S. Justice Department, according to The Times-Picayune / The New Orleans Advocate. The latest in a series of federal and state legal actions against more than a dozen industrial plants for polluting the river basin with toxic chemicals and heavy metals, including dioxin and mercury, it covers less than half of the Environmental Protection Agency’s $13 million response costs for contamination caused by this group.

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