Source: http://www.mycentraljersey.com, April 5, 2014
By: Sergio Bichao
Texas-based petroleum company will pay New Jersey $20 million as part of a global legal settlement to reimburse the cost to clean up this borough’s Federal Creosote Superfund site, which was considered one of the worst hazardous waste sites in the country.
The $20 million payment by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and subsidiary Kerr-McGee are part of a record $5.15 billion settlement announced Thursday by the law firm Irell & Manella, the trustee appointed to pursue claims against Kerr-McGee.
The Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville was the home of a coal tar wood treatment facility operated from about 1911 to 1956. The facility treated railroad ties with creosote. Runoff and waste were dumped into two waste sludge lagoons.
More than 450,000 tons of contaminated soil was removed, and 100 residential and commercial properties were cleaned up beginning in 2001. The EPA and the state Department of Environmental Protection have determined the site no longer poses a threat to health or the environment.
Mayor Angelo Corradino on Friday hailed the news, which came a month after the federal Environmental Protection Agency proposed the removal of the Federal Creosote property from the Superfund list. That will pave the way for the redevelopment.
“They got most of that back, and I’m glad they did. It’s well deserved. Companies like that should be held accountable,” he said.
Kerr-McGee in 2012 was found by a federal bankruptcy court to have engaged in fraudulent corporate asset transfers in an effort to shield its valuable oil and gas assets from liability claims spawned by the firm’s decades-long contamination of properties throughout the United States.
“This settlement reaffirms New Jersey’s commitment to making certain that those who cause pollution do not evade their obligation to pay for its cleanup,” acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said Thursday in a statement. “We will continue to protect the residents of New Jersey, and their quality of life by vigorously pursuing those who are legally responsible for contaminating our precious environmental resources.”
Attorneys for the Division of Law filed proofs of claim related to the Federal Creosote Superfund Site in 2009, seeking past costs and natural resource damages on behalf of the DEP.
Ten other states and the Navajo Tribe also filed claims against Kerr-McGee. Those also were resolved as part of the settlement.
The settlement must be approved by the federal bankruptcy court and be subject to a 30-day comment period.