Faced with staggering environmental liabilities from a 110-year operating history, in 2005 the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. In 2009, ASARCO emerged from bankruptcy under a court-approved reorganization plan that provided a host of federal and state agencies with the benefit of $1.79 billion to clean up numerous contaminated ASARCO sites throughout the country. Under the approved plan of reorganization, which was the largest environmental settlement in bankruptcy history, three environmental custodial trusts were created and received a total of $261 million to address ASARCO’s cleanup responsibilities at 24 sites located in 13 states. One of the three trusts, the Montana Environmental Custodial Trust (the Custodial Trust) took title to the four Montana sites, comprised of approximately 4,000 acres of land, and received funds totaling almost $138 million to pay for their cleanup and restoration.
The Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC (METG)
The Greenfield Environmental Trust Group is renowned worldwide for its third-party independent trusts and hazardous waste site redevelopment expertise. Following a competitive national bidding process, Greenfield was selected by the United States and the State of Montana to serve as Trustee for the Custodial Trust. The Montana Environmental Trust Group, LLC (METG) is a wholly-owned East Helena, Montana-based subsidiary of Greenfield that has been appointed as the Federal District Court Trustee of the Custodial Trust.
The Montana Environmental Custodial Trust is an independent, non-profit entity created to clean up, restore, and revitalize the hazardous waste sites once owned by ASARCO in the state of Montana. As a private landowner, the Custodial Trust is responsible for the management and stewardship of the Montana sites. As a fiduciary, whose sole beneficiaries are governmental entities, its purposes are aligned with the environmental missions and economic goals of the United States and the State of Montana. The Montana Environmental Custodial Trust is thus a unique private trust with a public purpose.
In fulfilling its responsibilities, the Custodial Trust recognizes and values the critical role of other stakeholders—communities, local governments, business interests and non-governmental organizations—who are often most impacted by the cleanup and revitalization of these sites. The Custodial Trust and its beneficiaries are committed to an enduring partnership with such stakeholders through honest, open dialogue, and collaboration.