$438 Million Allocated for Superfund Site Cleanups in New Jersey
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Site superfund cleanup gone history. For a historic settlement with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee has resulted in a noteworthy and massive financial boost for the cleanup. Especiallyof two New Jersey Superfund sites. With permission from the Environment Protection Agency, $438 million has been earmarked. All for past and future remediation efforts at the Welsbach Superfund site. They are located in Camden and also Gloucester City. For that’s as well as the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville. This allocation forms part of a larger $5.15 billion settlement. One aimed at resolving claims that Anadarko. Also, Kerr-McGee, and the co-plaintiff Anadarko Litigation Trust. For they fraudulently transferred assets. All to avoid liability for contamination across the nation.
The Historic Settlement
A Groundbreaking Agreement
The overall agreement, which is the largest of its kind in a bankruptcy-related environmental settlement with the federal government. For it has allocated approximately $4.4 billion towards the remediation of contaminated sites. This significant sum also demonstrates the importance of holding corporations accountable. Especially for their environmental responsibilities. Moreover and ensuring that they contribute towards the cleanup of any damage caused.
EPA’s Statement on the Settlement
EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck emphasized the significance of this legal achievement in bankruptcy court. Thereby stating that it is beneficial for New Jersey and serves as a reminder for other companies to uphold their responsibility for environmental cleanups. The $438 million portion of this settlement will allow the EPA to continue its vital work in protecting public health and the environment in the affected New Jersey communities.
The Companies Involved
Kerr-McGee’s History and Operations
Kerr-McGee, founded in 1929, has operated various businesses across the United States. That’s including wood-treating, uranium mining and processing, thorium processing, and ammonium perchlorate manufacturing. By the early 2000s, the company had discontinued most of these historic business operations. However. it also remained responsible for the massive legacy environmental and tort liabilities related to those businesses. At that time, Kerr-McGee operated two core businesses:
- oil and gas exploration and production
- and chemical production.
Timeline of Events Leading to the Settlement
In 2001, Kerr-McGee, recognizing that its enormous legacy liabilities were a hindrance to its oil and gas business. So they began a plan. One to separate its valuable oil and gas assets from these legacy liabilities. Between 2002 and 2005, the firm transferred these oil and gas assets to a “new” Kerr-McGee (one of the defendants) and subsequently spun off the small, cyclical chemical business with 85-odd years of legacy liabilities. One more surprisingly was re-named Tronox, in 2006. A few months later, Anadarko acquired Kerr-McGee (and the oil and gas business) for $18 billion. As a result of these transactions, Tronox was rendered insolvent. In addition it was unable to pay for its legacy liabilities. So it ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2009.
The Contaminated Sites
Welsbach Superfund Site in Gloucester, New Jersey
Background and Contamination
The Welsbach Company and the General Gas Mantle Company used radioactive material thorium from the late 1890s to 1941. That was to make the gas lamps manufactured at their facilities glow brighter. It is believed that thorium-contaminated waste from the manufacturing process was used as fill in surrounding areas. Consequently, the soil and buildings on the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle properties. That’s as well as surrounding properties, were contaminated.
Cleanup Efforts and Funding
Approximately $222 million will be paid to the EPA. Most importantly for the cleanup of thorium contamination at the Welsbach Superfund site. Located also in Gloucester City, New Jersey. Among ongoing efforts related to the site, the EPA has removed over 200,000 cubic yards of radiologically contaminated soil and building materials. That’s most noteworthy from more than 140 properties in the Gloucester City and Camden areas. For it has also investigated more than 900 properties.
Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey
Background and Contamination
During the 1960s, homes and a commercial mall were constructed on top of contaminated land at the Federal Creosote site. One which also had been used for over 30 years to treat railroad ties with toxic levels of the chemical creosote.
Cleanup Efforts and Funding
Approximately $216 million will be paid to the federal Superfund in repayment of costs previously incurred by the EPA in cleaning up the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey. Among other efforts at the site, the EPA removed over 450,000 tons of contaminated soil and cleaned up nearly 100 residential and commercial properties in Manville before completing work in 2008.
Approval Process of the Settlement
Announcement and Public Comment Period
On April 3, 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced the settlement for public comment and judicial approval. After considering comments from the public, the United States sought approval of the settlement.
Court Approval and Disbursement
On November 10, 2014, the court for the Southern District of New York approved the agreement. The deadline for any appeals from the district court’s decision passed on January 20, 2015, without any appeals having been taken, and the funds have now begun to be dispersed.
Conclusion and Additional Resources
This landmark settlement serves as a reminder of the importance of corporate environmental responsibility and the vital role that legal institutions play in holding companies accountable for their actions. The allocation of $438 million for the cleanup of two New Jersey Superfund sites will go a long way in protecting public health and the environment in the affected communities.
For further information on this case and the Superfund sites involved, please visit the following websites:
- Case Summary: Settlement Agreement in Anadarko Fraud Case Results in Billions for Environmental Cleanups Across the Country
- Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey Welsbach Superfund Site in Gloucester, New Jersey http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/welsbach/
Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey http://epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/federalcreosote/