Anadarko Petroleum Corp yesterday agreed to pay more than $5 billion to clean up polluted sites across the US that caused cancer and other health problems, in the Department of Justice’s largest environmental settlement yet – but Anadarko’s share price actually rose 14.5 percent on the news.
The sites are polluted with nuclear fuel, wood creosote and rocket fuel waste, Reuters reports.
The agreement ends a long-running lawsuit against Kerr-McGee, an energy and chemical company that Anadarko bought in 2006. A trust representing the federal government, 11 states, Indian tribes and individuals brought the case.
The trust sought cleanup costs for more than 2,000 sites across the country, and payment for more than 8,000 people who said their exposure at Kerr-McGee wood treatment plants caused cancer, in some cases leading to death.
But Anadarko’s share price rose to $99.02 on news of the settlement, because the company had faced the possibility of a much higher fine – up to $14 billion. Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer, said a “dark cloud” had lifted from the company.
The $5.15 billion includes $1.1 billion to address perchlorate contamination in Nevada, and about $1 billion for the Navajo Nation to address radioactive contamination from a uranium mining operation.
Anadarko is one of four companies that have the highest exposure to water exposure risks among hydraulic fracturing firms, according to a report by Ceres.
Last month, US District Judge Carl Barbier found that Anadarko was not culpable in the well-drilling operations that led to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Takeaway: The Department of Justice has secured its biggest environmental settlement yet, for over $5 billion, from Anadarko Petroleum.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.