BOISE, Idaho — A U.S. appeals court has ruled that a Philadelphia-based agribusiness company that left millions of tons of toxic waste on tribal land in Idaho must pay the tribes nearly $20 million plus $1.5 million annually.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday upheld a lower court ruling against FMC Corp. involving a now-shuttered Idaho plant that turned phosphate into fertilizer.
For about 50 years until 2001, FMC operated the fertilizer plant that produced 22 million tons of waste stored on the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
The company contended in one of its arguments that it wasn’t obligated to pay the $1.5 million annual permit fee to the tribes for storing the waste after closing the plant.
A judge called that argument “ludicrous.”
The tribes say the money will be used for monitoring and cleanup at the site.