Dow Chemical Company has agreed to a $77 million settlement for environmental restoration projects, including new boat launches, in mid-Michigan to compensate for pollution and wildlife destruction caused by the company. Dow is based in Midland, Michigan, and merged with DuPont in 2017.
The settlement would "compensate the public for injuries to natural resources," said a statement from the United States Attorney's Office Eastern District of Michigan.
Federal, state and tribal agencies previously filed complaints that Dow had polluted local lands and waters with dioxin compounds for decades after it opened in 1897. That "adversely affected fish, invertebrates, birds and mammals," and led to restrictions on hunting, fishing and use of public parks, according to the statement.
"The natural resources in the Saginaw Bay area will be restored through the creation of natural habitat areas, nature preserves, hiking and biking trails, and greater access for fishing, hunting, boating and canoeing," U.S. Attorney Matthew Schneider said in the release.
The settlement, which includes the expansion of launch ramps on the Saginaw River, includes eight natural restoration projects across public parks, lakes and tribal lands in mid-Michigan.
"Altogether, the set of proposed projects are expected to provide approximately 8,000 acres of natural habitat creation, enhancement and preservation across the Great Lakes Bay region that will benefit fish, birds, mammals and other wildlife, while creating enhanced recreational and educational opportunities for the public," said the statement.
The settlement will be subject to public comment and approval.