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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Airport, Lockheed Reach Settlement Over Contaminated Groundwater

The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority will pay $2 million to Lockheed Martin in connection with a lawsuit over responsibility for contaminated groundwater in the area of Bob Hope Airport. In exchange, the aerospace company will defend the authority against having to contribute to a $108 million fund to clean the contaminated aquifer. The U.S. Environment Protection Agency in July added the authority and other property owners, including Home Depot Inc. and Public Storage, to a list of those who should help pay clean chemicals in the groundwater. The authority has been in extended litigation with Lockheed Martin, from which it purchased the property for the airport in 1978. The authority has long contended that in selling off the land, Lockheed had agreed to defend and indemnify the authority against any claims stemming from the years that Lockheed operated there, The settlement was a pure business decision, said Airport Authority President Frank Quintero. “When we considered legal costs of resisting the EPA action, potential actual costs of participating in the EPA cleanup program, and the burden of continuing the dispute with Lockheed, it was clear this settlement was the most advantageous option for the authority and for airport travelers, who ultimately have to pay the tab,” Quintero said. For more than 20 years the EPA has operated extraction wells to draw out water from the aquifer contaminated by aircraft manufacturing from the decades when Lockheed Martin owned the land straddling Burbank and North Hollywood. Mark R. Madler

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