Fort Smith Votes Down Pursuit Of Whirlpool Fines

Feb 19, 2014

Credit Arkansas Times

Leaders in Fort Smith have rejected a plan to use the city's nuisance laws to fine Whirlpool Corp. for contamination at a former plant site.

According to the Southwest Times Record, the Fort Smith Board of Directors voted 5-2 Tuesday to reject an attorney's officer to seek a fine against Whirlpool for contaminating soil and groundwater with the chemical trichloroethylene decades ago.

Whirlpool is working with state environmental officials on a cleanup plan for the site.

Ward 1 Director Keith Lau says he opposed the proposal because of questions on whether the city had the legal authority to prosecute or collect fines under the nuisance ordinance.

At-large Director Philip Merry Jr., who supported pursuing fines, says the city has the authority to enforce an ordinance already on the books.