Some time ago, we wrote about a massive settlement involving Anadarko Petroleum, one of the companies associated with the British Petroleum oil spill back in 2010. The agreement, which was reached back in April, put an end to a lawsuit involving the U.S. Department of Justice and creditors of one of Anadarko’s former subsidiaries.
On Wednesday, the settlement agreement was approved by a bankruptcy judge in New York in connection with the former subsidiary’s bankruptcy. This happened despite objections from some of creditors who complained that the settlement didn’t demand enough from the oil company. The settlement itself, as we have noted, was reached in connection with toxic spills and contamination and it prescribes the cleanup of numerous spill sites across the United States.
Toxic spills are so serious because of the negative impact they have on both the environment and human health. One of the issues with the Anadarko toxic spills is that the company had been using coal tar creosote, which according to the Environmental Protection Agency can cause cancer. Unfortunately, this kind of knowledge is hard won—many people can be harmed before the connection between toxic spills and human health concerns is made.
Companies responsible for toxic spills and contamination have a duty to the public to hold themselves accountable for poor stewardship of the environment. When this doesn’t happen, there are legal protections at both the federal and state level in place to ensure they are held accountable. Those facing the fallout of a toxic spill should contact an experienced environmental law attorney to determine their options for recovery.
Source: Business Insider, “Anadarko’s $5.15 bln cleanup agreement clears first court hurdle,” Nick Brown, May 28, 2014.