Judge extends negotiation deadline in Tennessee Riverkeeper lawsuit against 3M

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – There has been another negotiation deadline extension in an ongoing lawsuit that alleges 3M and other chemical makers polluted the Tennessee River and should clean it up.

The ruling granting the extension Monday by a federal judge in the U.S. District for the Northern District of Alabama marks the eighth extension in the lawsuit brought by Tennessee Riverkeeper, court records show.

 The lawsuit, filed in 2016, also names the City of Decatur and Morgan County as defendants.

3M is currently under a consent order with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, signed in July, that requires the company to clean up PFAS chemicals in Morgan and Lawrence counties.

The chemicals used in products like Scotchgard, don’t easily break down and have been linked to a number of health effects, including some cancers.

3M declined comment on the mediation status today.

Tennessee Riverkeeper Executive Director David Whiteside said the case has been subject to stalling tactics, but the current delay is tied to holiday and COVID-19 scheduling issues. He said the group looks forward to resolving the case.

“We hope to see a draft settlement in the near future and Tennessee Riverkeeper will pursue this lawsuit,” Whiteside said, “and will force 3M and the other polluters to thoroughly and expeditiously clean up the Tennessee River in these communities and we will not stop until that’s done.”

The order by U.S. District Judge Liles Burke extends the mediation deadline for resolution of the lawsuit until Feb. 28.

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