How Polluters Forget: Cabot's Winooski Spill

The most interesting part of the story about how Cabot — the famous Vermont cheese company whose employees wiped out 5 1/2 miles of life in the Winooski River in July 2005 — came to admit guilt is that the company was responsible for a similar incident twenty-two years earlier. “The U.S. attorney’s office noted that Cabot had discharged ammonia into the Winooski River in 1983, killing fish and damaging several miles of river. As the result of a civil settlement with the state, the creamery agreed to develop policies on how to handle hazardous materials and prevent future releases, but no policies were in place when the spills took place in 2005.” One has to wonder how thoroughly the company will comply with new rules after paying their $50,000 fine, or whether two decades of non-compliance are so easily swept under the rug.

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