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LOS ANGELES-Montrose Chemical Co. and Westinghouse Electric Corp. may become obligated to pay more to help clean up Los Angeles Harbor as a result of a recent federal appellate court ruling.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 17 reversed a district court ruling that had capped the two companies' cleanup liability for pollution in the harbor to $50 million plus response costs.

The appellate court also found that the statute of limitations had not yet run out for the state and federal government to seek additional cleanup costs from the companies.

The case has been remanded to U.S. District Court in Pasadena, Calif., for retrial. The case stems from a 1990 lawsuit filed by the United States and the State of California as part of an effort to clean up DDT and PCBs released over several decades by Montrose and Westinghouse into the Los Angeles-Long Beach harbors.

The suit was filed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.