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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: $5 Billion Superfund Settlement, EPA Proposes Largest Cleanup in History

$5 Billion National Settlement Yields Hundreds of Millions for Superfund Sites in New Jersey and New York

Kerr-McGee Corporation and certain of its affiliates (“New Kerr-McGee”), and their parent Anadarko Petroleum Corporation will greatly benefit environmental cleanups at the Welsbach Superfund site in Gloucester City, New Jersey and the GCL Tie and Treating Superfund site in Sidney, New York, and reimburse the federal government for substantial cleanup costs at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey. The United States has entered into the settlement agreement with the companies in a fraudulent conveyance case brought by the United States and co-plaintiff Anadarko Litigation Trust in the bankruptcy of Tronox Inc.

The bankruptcy court had previously found, in December 2013, that the historic Kerr-McGee Corporation (“Old Kerr-McGee”) fraudulently conveyed assets to New Kerr-McGee to evade its debts, including its liability for environmental clean-up at contaminated sites around the country. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, the defendants agree to pay $5.15 billion to settle the case, of which approximately $4.4 billion will be paid to fund environmental clean-up and for environmental claims. This is the largest environmental enforcement recovery ever by the Department of Justice.

The settlement includes more than $440 million for several sites in New Jersey and in New York.

Approximately $224 million will be paid to EPA for cleanup of thorium contamination at the Welsbach Superfund site in Gloucester City, New Jersey. Approximately $217 million will be paid to the federal Superfund in repayment of costs previously incurred by EPA cleaning up the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey. The federal Superfund will receive a portion of approximately $43 million for past and future costs paid by EPA to clean up the GCL Tie and Treating Superfund site in Sidney, New York.

In its decision, the court found that Old Kerr-McGee transferred assets with the intent to hinder or delay creditors, in particular environmental creditors, and also transferred those assets for less than their fair value, which left Tronox insolvent, unable to pay its debts when they came due, and undercapitalized.

More information can be obtained at the following web sites:

Case Summary: Settlement Agreement in Anadarko Fraud Case Results in Billions for Environmental Cleanups Across the Countryhttp://www2.epa.gov/enforcement/case-summary-settlement-agreement-anadarko-fraud-case-results-billions-environmental

Welsbach Superfund Site in Gloucester, New Jersey http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/welsbach/

GCL Tie and Treating Superfund Site in Sidney, New York http://www.epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/0203408c.pdf

Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey http://epa.gov/region02/superfund/npl/federalcreosote/

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