By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING – Homeowners whose property was contaminated by materials from a now-defunct chemical plant in Gratiot County have lost their lawsuit against contractors and trucking companies that removed toxic sediments from the adjacent Pine River. A unanimous three-judge Court of Appeals panel refused to reinstate the suit, which seeks damages from 18 companies. The case is a legacy of extensive pollution at a 54-acre plant site owned by now-bankrupt Velsicol Chemical Corp. and of the Pine River bordering the facility. From 1936 until 1978, the factory, then known as the Michigan Chemical Corp., produced chemical compounds and products, including the flame retardant PBBs – polybrominated biphenyls – and the now-banned pesticide DDT.