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Oil company reaches massive settlement over environmental contamination

You don’t have to be a health nut to appreciate that we live in a toxic world. Exposure can come from dangerous work environments, medical products, household chemicals, and many other places. The BP oil spill of 2010 is a particularly clear indication of this, though there are many smaller ways we are exposed to dangerous substances

Anadarko Petroleum, a company associated with the BP oil spill, reportedly reached a settlement with the Department of Justice this week which constitutes the largest environmental settlement in history. The deal involves $5.15 billion and a promise to clean up numerous sites and provide compensation to thousands who have been harmed by toxic spills

The settlement stems in particular from a company called Kerr-McGee, which was responsible for numerous incidents of contamination but which failed to take responsibility. Although the settlement amount was obviously large, it was actually lower than some of the predictions said it would be. The range of estimates was between $5.2 billion and $14.2 billion, making the settlement rather modest in comparison.

The settlement is celebrated not only by environmentalists but also by all those who are for corporate responsibility and stewardship. No doubt, news of the settlement sends a message to companies that they cannot get away from their responsibility for environmental contamination. There is too much at stake when companies fail to take responsibility for their pollution, most notably the life and health of those who are affected.

Those who are harmed by toxic substances have the right to seek compensation from those who are responsibility for their exposure. Going up against major corporations is no small task, though, and it is important to work with an experienced advocate in such cases.

Source: Washington Post, “Anadarko Petroleum to pay $5.15 billion to settle pollution case, Justice Dept. says,” Juliet Eilperin, April 3, 2014. 

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