By Jonathan Stempel
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States agreed to pay $10.84 million to settle a Ford Motor Co lawsuit over wartime contamination at the automaker's historic Rouge Complex in its Dearborn, Michigan, hometown.
Ford had sued the government in 2004 to recover costs to clean up the site, which it still projects will total at least $99 million.
Described by the National Park Service as "the world's most famous auto plant," the Ford River Rouge Complex comprises much of a 2,000-acre parcel that the automaker's founder Henry Ford bought in 1915; it opened two years later.
The National Historic Landmark was used in World War I to build naval ships, and in World War II to build aircraft engines and other materials. During peacetime, Ford used it for auto and steel production. A unit of Russia's Severstal OAO bought the steelmaking portion in 2004.
According to settlement papers filed Friday with the U.S. District Court in Detroit, the United States agreed to cover cleanup costs of $6,585,000 at the Rouge complex, and $4,250,000 at a 48-acre parcel immediately to the southwest, which is used for wastewater treatment.
The settlement followed mediation, and requires court approval. Ford called it "fair, reasonable and consistent with the applicable statutory goals of facilitating the prompt cleanup of hazardous waste, placing the burden of cleanup on potentially responsible parties, and encouraging settlement."
Ford and Severstal also agreed not to further sue the government over claims covered by the settlement, papers show.
The case is Ford Motor Co. v. U.S., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan, No. 04-07218.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)