UPDATE: Transition of DuPont To Chemours Complete

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Update: 7/01/2015 6:45 P.M.

For more than 65 years, we knew it as DuPont Washington Works.
As of Wednesday, it houses three separate chemical companies.

A flag-raising ceremony Wednesday morning made the change official.

In addition to DuPont, Washington Works is the site of Kuraray, which took over the Butacite manufacturing unit a year ago, and Chemours, which took control July 1 of the plant's performance products division.
Kuraray employs 35 people at the site.

Chemours will continue to have 700 people working in its division.

"We have a wonderful group of employees, we have a great business, and we look forward to success here," says Chemours Plant Manager Bob Fehrenbacher, "not only at this site, but in this community."

"We've had a great experience with our employees in the Parkersburg area," says Deborah Carpenter, Marketing Manger of Kuraray, "and we're excited to continue to grow this business in this area."

"Through our Xytel processes, our Delrin processes, and our other performance polymer processes. We're committed to our people, our community, and the long-term success of DuPont at this site.," says Jay Valvo, DuPont Site Manager.

But a long-term concern for DuPont, the new kid on the block, Chemours, and people who live in the area of Washington Works, is the nearly 15-year old issue of the effects of C8.

The chemical is to be phased out this year, but what remains is medical monitoring for those affected by the chemical, part of a court settlement more than a decade ago. When asked about that, the former DuPont and now Chemours plant manager gave a response both companies have given now for several months.

"I can get you some information on that," said Bob Fahrenbacher, Site Manager, Chemours. "We have been steadfast in our commitment to fulfill our obligations on that topic."

The information to which Farenbacher is referring is a required filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
That filing, which repeatedly is prefaced by "DuPont through Chemours", says:

"While it is probable that the company will incur costs related to the medical monitoring program, such costs cannot be reasonably estimated due to uncertainties surrounding the level of participation by eligible class members and the scope of testing."

It goes on to say: "Chemours believes that it is reasonably possible that it could incur losses related to other PFOA matters...however, a range of such losses, if any, cannot be reasonably estimated at this time."

A group calling itself Keep Your Promises DuPont told us earlier this year it was concerned Chemours, which now controls the performance products area of Washington Works, might not have the financial resources to handle medical monitoring costs.

Keep Your Promises Wednesday submitted a letter to the EPA,. calling for proof Chemours is compliant with the Federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

That act requires to know how much corrective action costs chemical sites, and how it financially plans to meet those obligations.

Update: 6/09/2015 7:00 P.M.

In an afternoon teleconference, advisors to the group Keep Your Promises DuPont claim Chemours may not be able to financially handle lawsuits filed against DuPont over the C8 chemical.

Those suits have been filed during the past two and a half years.

Chemours is expected to become the new owner of the Performance Chemicals Division of DuPont Washington Works on July 1.

A Parkersburg physician, Dr. Paul Brooks, claims DuPont isn't living up to its responsibility to provide medical monitoring to residents of six water districts.

Brooks was part of Brookmar, Inc., which oversaw the testing in 2006. 70,000 area residents were tested as a result of a 2005 settlement over the chemical used by Washington Works.

"5,702 people qualified (for medical monitoring), but we don't know what state of monitoring they're in, or actually have had any testing done. And just $322,000 has been allocated to the $225 million fund, while Feinberg and Rozen has been paid over $10 million."

Brooks was referring to the firm chosen to oversee medical monitoring of residents who were tested for C8. It was approved by DuPont, Brooks says, in 2012, after the last of the reports by the C8 Science Panel. Brooks has been critical of its work so far.

Du-pont issued a statement late today saying it and Chemours remain committed to continuing to fulfill all of its environmental and legal obligations...in accordance with existing local, state and federal regulatory guidelines.

It is similar to other statements it has released in response to charges made by the Keep Your Promises group.

Meanwhile...are C8 levels in Parkersburg's drinking water rising?
the utility board says yes...and no.

Last year, two samples of the city's drinking water were sent to the U.S. E.P.A.

Assistant Water Superintendent Eric Bumgardner says one was from Narch, 2014...the other was from five months later.

The highest of the two levels showed the C8 level at .0631 parts per billion.

Bumgardner says those levels are known to fluctuate from sample to sample.

However, levels from the last several years have been well below the E.P.A.'s health advisory level for the chemical.

That is four parts per billion.

UPDATE 5/7/2015 3:30 PM

The Keep Your Promises group takes its fight against DuPont to the company's headquarters.

Thursday the group was in Wilmington, Delaware kicking off what it calls a week of actions leading up to DuPont's annual meeting.

The group claims DuPont has not provided documents showing how it will take responsibility for C-8 related issues once the Chemours company takes over.

But DuPont has told WTAP it does remain committed to fulfilling its obligations.

Keep Your Promises says it is circulating a petition demanding an end to what it calls DuPont's secrecy.


Update 4/29/2015 7:15 P.M.

Putting their feet to the fire.
The "Keep Your Promises" group now appeals to the CEO of DuPont.

In a letter to company chief Ellen Kullman, the group demands answers about the company's future commitment to those affected by the C8 chemical.

It's concern is how that will be affected by the planned spinoff of DuPont Washington Works performance chemicals division to the Chemours company.

" If Chemours gets it, we're concerned because we've seen other companies do this," says Joe Kiger, Advisory Board Member and Wood County resident. "They spin off into another company, they downsize, they go into stock options, downsize to the point of filing bankruptcy, and there goes your liability."

In a response, DuPont said: "DuPont and Chemours remain committed to fulfilling all its environmental and legal obligations that have been ongoing at its Washington Works facility in accordance with existing local, state and federal regulatory guidelines.”

UPDATE: 3/30/2015 5:36 PM

Keep Your Promises says Chemours will inherit the liabilities including the hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the Mid Ohio Valley residents contaminated by chemical c-8.

Keep Your Promises says they're left in the dark about how Chemours will handle those liabilities.

Keep Your Promises is demanding DuPont to release documents that show how they will address the environmental damages caused by their company.

In a press release from Keep Your Promises, it states, "DuPont has prepared documents including a separation agreement that specifies all of its environmental liabilities and how the liabilities will be transferred," and they say none of that information was ever reported.

The risk to us is the fact of not knowing. That's the biggest risk, and that of not knowing what they're going to do, i think that's not being fair to the community and that's a risk i think they don't want to take. it's not advising a community of what's going to happen and where they're going to be left," says Keep Your Promises Advisory Committee Member, Joe Kiger.

In a written statement, DuPont writes:

"DuPont and Chemours remain committed to fulfilling all its environmental and legal obligations that have been ongoing at its Washington Works facility in accordance with existing local, state and federal regulatory guidelines."

Keep Your Promises says the Mid Ohio Valley won't be the only community affected by this spinoff, 6 other counties are among the places that could have a negative consequence.


Updated: 12/19/2014 5:20 P.M.

The more things change, the more they will stay the same.

That's how DuPont Washington Works describes the transition of its Performance Products area to a new company next year.

The only change visible from DuPont will be the name-or names-on the sign.

As we first reported December 18, DuPont is spinning off its performance chemicals area of the plant to a newly-created company, Chemours.

The current site manager says while that part of the plant will be a new company, not only will the employment remain same, so will the products those employees produce.

"The future, when the spinoff is complete, is that the Washington Works site will have three companies," says Site Manager Bob Fehrenbacher. "But the products, and the employee base, will, by and large, be changed. We'll still be here, making the same products with the same people, and we'll have Chemours, DuPont and Kuraray on site."

Kuraray is the Japanese-owned company who, earlier this year, took over DuPont's Butacite manufacturing unit.

Fehrenbacher adds he will become manager of the chemours unit when the new company begins operations next July first.


Updated: 12/18/2014 6:15 P.M.

More big changes on the way for DuPont Washington Works: its Performance Chemicals division next year will have new owners.

Washington Works manager Bob Fehrenbacher says the Performance Chemicals unit is being spun off as a separate company named Chemours.

The change happens July first, affecting close to half of the plant's 1,600 employees. That means roughly half of them will be working for Chemours beginning July 1,2015.

DuPont made the announcement late Thursday.

Fehrenbacher says Chemours will have separate management and operate as its own business, sharing only utilities with DuPont.

This is the second major change at Washington Works in the past year.

Its Butacite division was sold to a Japanese company in 2013.


7/23/2013

The DuPont corporation is considering selling or spinning-off its performance chemicals division.

The company made the announcement a day after reporting a twelve percent drop in its second quarter earnings.

In a company statement, DuPont says it's considering ways to provide growth options for its shareholders.

Robin Stemple, spokeswoman for DuPont Washington Works, says products are made at the plant for the performance chemicals division-as well as for other du-pont divisions.

Stemple added it's too early to speculate what that might mean for the local plant.

Washington Works is one of the area's largest private employers and is celebrating its 65th anniversary this month.


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