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Company linked to an oily spill in the Flint River files for bankruptcy protection

Public Domain

Despite the company filing for bankruptcy protection, state environmental regulators expect cooperation will continue to address environmental concerns at a Flint chemical manufacturing facility.

This week in federal bankruptcy court in Pennsylvania, officials with Lockhart Chemical filed for Chapter Seven bankruptcy protection. The move allows for the company’s assets to be liquidated, while holding creditors at bay.

The bankruptcy court has appointed a trustee to oversee Lockhart, including its facility in Flint, which was the source of a leak in the Flint River over the summer.

It took crews weeks to collect thousands of gallons of the oily substance. The substance was traced to a stormwater sewer which runs beneath the Lockhart facility in Flint. Last month, state regulators barred Lockhart from using leaky sewage pipes to discharge wastewater from the facility.

Prior to the leak being discovered, Lockhart had a history of citations for violating state regulations.

Jill Greenberg is a spokeswoman for the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE).

“The bankruptcy code doesn’t nullify environmental law, and the state is focused on getting as much of the company’s assets as possible to address the conditions at the site,” Greenberg said in a written statement.

She said the trustee has indicated an intent to work with the State to resolve its environmental concerns related to the site.

Greenberg said the agency will also pursue all available avenues to maintain compliance with Michigan’s environmental laws.