| NEW YORK
NEW YORK May 28 Anadarko Petroleum Corp's
agreement to pay $5.15 billion to clean up nuclear fuel
and other pollution moved one step closer to reality on
Wednesday, receiving a bankruptcy judge's rubber stamp.
The agreement reached in April, touted by the U.S.
Department of Justice as the largest-ever environmental cleanup
recovery, resolved a lawsuit against Anadarko and its Kerr-McGee
unit from creditors of Tronox Inc, the paint materials maker
that was once a subsidiary of Kerr-McGee.
The lawsuit, which was joined by the DOJ, alleged that
Tronox's 2009 bankruptcy was caused by the environmental
liabilities it took on when Kerr-McGee spun it off in 2005. It
said the spinoff was a scheme by Kerr-McGee to get the
liabilities off its books and make itself a more attractive
takeover target for Anadarko, which acquired it in 2006.
Judge Allan Gropper, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York,
presided over Tronox's bankruptcy and the Anadarko lawsuit. He
approved the settlement at a hearing on Wednesday over the
objections of some smaller claimholders who said the deal did
not go far enough.
"Everybody wins," Gropper said. "I can see only a benefit
from the settlement."
The deal will not be official until it gets the approval of
a federal district court judge. A lawyer for the Tronox
creditors told Reuters he expects that to happen "within the
next few months." The deal is not expected to face much
Despite the hefty price tag, the settlement is a win for
Anadarko shareholders because Gropper had initially estimated
that the company's liability could be as high as $14.17 billion.
The money will fund a wide array of projects across some
2,000 U.S. sites, including $1.1 billion to address
contamination from Kerr-McGee's decades-old jet and rocket fuel
manufacturing plant in Henderson, Nevada, where ammonium
perchlorate, a primary fuel component, penetrated soil and then
groundwater. The Navajo Nation will get about $1 billion to
address radioactive contamination from Kerr-McGee's old uranium
The lawsuit had also blamed Kerr-McGee's use of coal tar
creosote, which the Environmental Protection Agency has said is
a probable cause of cancer.
Tronox, which shed the environmental liabilities through the
bankruptcy, emerged from Chapter 11 in 2011.
The case is Tronox Inc et al. v. Kerr McGee Corp et al.,
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York, No.
(Reporting by Nick Brown; editing by Andrew Hay)