Oil company pays $5.1 billion over Environment case
The New York Times today reported that Texas oil company, Anadarko Petroleum, agreed to pay $5.1 billion for an environmental cleanup, a sum the Justice Department said was the largest it had ever won in such a case.
The money will be used to restore polluted areas and compensating thousands of victims with personal injury claims.
The original claims were against Kerr-McGee a chemical company that is now a subsidiary of Anadarko.
Anadarko had argued that it could not be held liable for pollution caused by Kerr-McGee, which had ostensibly passed the liabilities on to a spinoff company called Tronox, which later declared bankruptcy. But a bankruptcy judge said the reorganisation was simply an attempt to dodge liability.
In announcing the settlement, the deputy attorney general, James M. Cole, said it reflected “the Justice Department’s firm commitment to preventing and combating all forms of fraud and to securing environmental justice.”
Suing Anadarko was a trust including the US government, 11 US states, the Navajo nation and trusts representing environmental and individual claimants. The Navajo nation will earn $1 billion for damages from a uranium mining operation. And $1.1 billion will go to cleaning up a former chemical manufacturing site in Nevada that has led to pollution in Lake Mead. The E.P.A. will receive more than $430 million to clean up areas of New Jersey.
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