Judge Approves $5.15 Billion Anadarko Environmental Settlement

Anadarko-Petroleum-Logo_309x82Fuel Fix

A federal judge has approved Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s $5.15 billion settlementover accusations that a subsidiary ducked environmental liabilities in a spin-off of one of its companies.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Manhattan federal Judge Katherine B. Forrest decided on Monday that the settlement deal could go through after Anadarko agreed to the payout in April, despite objections from a creditor group in Columbus, Mississippi that said the amount was too low.

The settlement is the largest environmental enforcement payment in U.S. history, according to the Justice Department. About $4.5 billion of the settlement will go toward cleaning up thousands of sites left by Kerr McGee Corp., an Oklahoma oil producer Anadarko bought for $18 billion in 2006, that were contaminated with toxic waste.

The Anadarko settlement is larger than BP’s $4.15 billion in charges over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill paid in 2012.

Kerr-McGee had operated the sites for decades before spinning off its operations responsible for their cleanup to its titanium producer, Tronox Inc. Tronox sued Kerr-McGee after its 2009 bankruptcy, claiming that the environmental liabilities its former parent company left it with in 2005 contributed to its financial woes. The Justice Department joined the lawsuit, alleging that the spinoff helped the Kerr-McGee get the liabilities off its books before the Anadarko acquisition.

About 2,000 sites across the country will see the cleanup funds, according to Reuters. About $1 billion will go to the Navajo Nation for the cleanup of radioactive contamination from a Kerr-McGee uranium mining operation.

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