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Zanetti Bros. reaches deal with United States Department of Justice

| December 22, 2010 8:00 PM

OSBURN - After two-and-a-half years of litigation, six figures and many sleepless nights, the second and third generation owners of Zanetti Bros. Inc. announced Tuesday they reached a settlement with the United Sates Department of Justice.

In 1997 Zanetti Bros. received notice that the United States Environmental Protection Agency intended to add the company to a suit filed by the United States against major mining companies for past mining activities seeking $1 billion in cleanup costs.

The EPA claimed Zanetti Bros. was also liable for mining and milling work done by four Zanetti Brothers that operated a family partnership working from the early 1930s through the late 1940s.

The EPA sued in 2008, seeking damages for the cleanup cost of the Coeur d'Alene Basin.

Zanetti Bros. disputed the claim.

"With the enactment by Congress of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act in December of 1980, our nation's environmental laws changed, thus putting/making many companies like the Zanetti Family Partnership - which started back in the early 1930s with four brothers, a couple of mules and a mine car - liable for paying a portion of the EPA's cleanup of the basin," the release said.

Terms of the settlement were not available, but according to the release, "the mining companies' loyalties to the Zanetti Family and Zanetti Bros., Inc. have allowed us to stay in business in the Silver Valley for many years."

The company could not have survived, otherwise, officials said.

"Had it not been for their support, we and many other businesses would not have been able to continue operations," the release said. "We have all endured the never-ending stigma of having the largest and most expensive Superfund site in the nation hanging over our heads."

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