Historic $5.15 Billion Settlement Reached Over Environmental Clean-Up Claims
Massachusetts to Receive More Than $73 Million for Environmental Contamination at “National Fireworks Site” in Hanover
BOSTON – Considered the largest national environmental bankruptcy settlement in history, Attorney General Martha Coakley today announced a $5.15 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp and its affiliate Kerr-McGee, filed today in the Southern District of New York. The case resolves environmental cleanup claims stemming from the 2009 bankruptcy of a former affiliate, Tronox.
As a result of the settlement, Massachusetts will receive more than $73 million for a severely contaminated site in Hanover, known as the “National Fireworks Site,” that is being cleaned up under the state’s Superfund Law.
“This is a historic settlement that will greatly benefit the environment in Massachusetts by ensuring that funds are available to clean-up the dangerous, decades-old mercury contamination at the National Fireworks Site,” said AG Coakley. “This makes clear that companies cannot escape their environmental responsibilities and walk away with the profits. We applaud the efforts of the Litigation Trust and United States team in preventing the fraudulent transactions of Kerr-McGee and its parent company, Anadarko, from allowing them to escape their liability.”
The site in Hanover, known as the "Fireworks Site," is a nearly 300-acre former munitions manufacturing, testing and disposal facility. As a result of the munitions operations that occurred there over many decades, starting during World War I, soils, sediments, and water bodies in the vicinity are contaminated with high levels of mercury, lead and other heavy metals that have contaminated the fish and other natural resources, including in the adjacent Factory Pond and Indian Head River, which is a tributary of the North River.
In January 2009, Tronox filed its Chapter 11 petition in the Southern District of New York Bankruptcy Court; and, shortly thereafter, brought a lawsuit against its parent company, Anadarko. That suit alleges Anadarko's Kerr-McGee unit’s earlier spin-off of Tronox was unlawful because it vested that entity with hundreds of millions of dollars in environmental liability and insufficient assets. Under the terms of a November 2010 multi-state and Federal environmental bankruptcy settlement, Tronox transferred its right to proceeds from the fraudulent conveyance lawsuit against Anadarko to the governmental entities to which it has environmental liability.
At the time of the 2010 settlement, Tronox paid $270 million, nearly $950,000 of which came to Massachusetts, to resolve environmental liabilities. Today’s settlement is in addition to what the governments already received in 2010.
This case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Carol Iancu of Attorney General Coakley's Environmental Protection Division with the assistance of Jennifer Davis, Senior Counsel, and Karen Pelto of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
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