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Ford sues U.S. government for Mich. plant cleanup

Ford Motor Co. <F.N> has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking compensation to clean up hazardous waste at a Michigan plant that built military equipment during World Wars I and II, a spokeswoman said on Friday.
/ Source: Reuters

Ford Motor Co. has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. government, seeking compensation to clean up hazardous waste at a Michigan plant that built military equipment during World Wars I and II, a spokeswoman said on Friday.

The lawsuit, filed in a U.S. District Court in Detroit on Thursday, said the government took over all or part of Ford's historic Rouge manufacturing complex outside Detroit during the wars to build boats, airplanes, tanks, engines and other materials.

The government also supplied raw materials containing hazardous substances that were used in manufacturing the military equipment, the lawsuit said.

"We don't have any idea how much the clean up will cost. We are just starting (investigating) that," Ford spokeswoman Kathleen Vokes said.

Ford recently began manufacturing pickup trucks at a new assembly plant on part of the Rouge complex, and has opened the plant to public tours. That part of the complex had very little industrial activity, and Ford took measures to make sure it was safe for the public and workers, Vokes said.

General Motors Corp. and chemical giant DuPont Co. have also sued the government in the past for compensation for cleanup costs stemming from wartime production, Vokes said.