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Judge approves Anadarko’s record contamination settlement

A federal judge has approved Anadarko Petroleum Corp.’s $5.15 billion settlement over accusations that its subsidiary left toxic waste in dozens of United States communities.

The money could start to be disbursed within weeks, an attorney involved in the case against Anadarko told Reuters Monday. 

The agreement, which involved the Justice Department, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and creditors of Tronox Inc., is the largest environmental cleanup settlement in United States history, federal officials said in April when the parties reached the deal.

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Federal attorneys say that paint materials maker Kerr-McGee contaminated the communities where it had facilities for 85 years. It spun off the operations responsible for cleanup to Tronox in 2005 before Kerr-McGee was sold to Anadarko, an oil producer, in 2006.

The government accused Kerr-McGee of playing a “corporate shell game” to avoid its duties to clean up its messes.

Much of the money from the settlement will be used to remediate sites, including a uranium mining operation on Navajo Nation land.