A $13 million out-of-court settlement was reached between the Alcoa aluminum smelter and the Regroupement des citoyen du quartier Saint-Georges, in Baie-Comeau, putting an end to a class action launched more than 16 years ago.
The action was led by a group of citizens whose homes may have been contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the aluminum smelter.
The group argued that atmospheric emissions were causing inconvenience and concern to neighborhood residents. The Alcoa aluminum smelter, however, denies these allegations.
Both parties agree that current air emissions from the plant “are within applicable standards,” according to a March 18 press release.
The citizens’ group, Alcoa and the lawyers have agreed not to comment on the case publicly.
“It is a settlement that was negotiated together. Now there is one hearing left in court. It’s good to turn the page, to look forward,” declared the mayor of Baie-Comeau, Yves Montigny.
The Superior Court will have to approve the settlement on May 16 at the Baie-Comeau courthouse, where the distribution plan can be established.
According to Le Journal de Québec, the costs of experts and the fees of the law firm Silvestre Painchaud et Associés will represent more than 25% of the 13 million dollars.