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Env Chem News

Page history last edited by Ian Balcom (Dr B.) 9 years, 2 months ago





Phenomenal success for new film that criticises China's environmental policy

Under The Dome notches up 100m views for Chai Jing, who tells of her concerns about the effect of country’s filthy air on her child




Toxic orange cloud spreads over Catalonia after chemical blast




$438 Million in Funds Headed for Contaminated Site Cleanups in New Jersey from Major Bankruptcy Court Settlement


(New York, N.Y. – Feb. 2, 2015) Money from a historic settlement reached with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee has now been disbursed for cleanups across the country, including $438 million that will go toward paying for past and future cleanup work at two New Jersey Superfund sites. The settlement funds will be used at the Welsbach Superfund site in Camden and Gloucester City, New Jersey and reimburse the federal government for substantial cleanup costs at the Federal Creosote Superfund site in Manville, New Jersey.

The entire settlement provides of $5.15 billion to resolve claims that the Anadarko, Kerr-McGee and co-plaintiff Anadarko Litigation Trust fraudulently moved assets to evade liability for contamination at Superfund sites around the country. Of this total, approximately $4.4 billion will be used toward cleaning up contaminated sites. This is the largest sum ever awarded in this type of a bankruptcy-related environmental settlement with the federal government.

“This legal achievement in bankruptcy court is good for New Jersey and reminds others not to shirk their responsibility for environmental cleanups,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck said. “The $438 million portion of this settlement for two contaminated sites in New Jersey will allow EPA to continue its work to protect public health and the environment.”

Since its founding in 1929, Kerr-McGee operated various businesses around the country, including wood-treating, uranium mining and processing, thorium processing, and ammonium perchlorate manufacturing. By the early 2000s, Kerr-McGee had discontinued most of these historic business operations yet remained responsible for massive legacy environmental and tort liabilities related to those businesses. At that time, Kerr-McGee operated two core businesses: oil and gas exploration and production; and chemical production.

Beginning in 2001, Kerr-McGee, having concluded that its enormous legacy liabilities were a drag on its oil and gas business, embarked on a plan to separate its valuable oil and gas assets from these legacy liabilities. In particular, between 2002 and 2005, Kerr-McGee transferred these oil and gas assets to a “new” Kerr-McGee (one of the defendants), and then spun off the small, cyclical chemical business with 85-odd years of legacy liabilities, which was re-named Tronox, in 2006. A few months later, Anadarko acquired Kerr-McGee (and the oil and gas business) for $18 billion. Meanwhile, as a result of the transactions, Tronox was rendered insolvent and unable to pay for its legacy liabilities, and ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

The Welsbach Company and the General Gas Mantle Company used radioactive material thorium from the late 1890s to 1941 to make the gas lamps manufactured at the facilities glow brighter. It is believed that thorium-contaminated waste from the manufacturing process was used as fill in surrounding areas. As a result, the soil and buildings on the Welsbach and General Gas Mantle properties, as well as surrounding properties, were contaminated. Approximately $222 million will be paid to EPA for cleanup of thorium contamination at the Welsbach Superfund site in Gloucester City, New Jersey. Among ongoing efforts related to the site, EPA has removed more than 200,000 cubic yards of radiologically contaminated soil and building materials from more than 140 properties in the Gloucester City and Camden areas and has investigated more than 900 properties.

During the 1960’s, homes and a commercial mall were built on top of contaminated land on the Federal Creosote site, which had been used for more than 30 years to treat railroad ties with toxic levels of the chemical creosote. Approximately $216 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. Among other efforts at the site, EPA removed more than 450,000 tons of contaminated soil and cleaned up nearly 100 residential and commercial properties in Manville before completing work in 2008.

On April 3, 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced this settlement for public comment and judicial approval. After considering comments from the public, the United States sought approval of the settlement, and on November 10, 2014, the court for the Southern District of New York approved the agreement. The deadline for any appeals from the district court’s decision passed on January 20, 2015, without any appeals having been taken and the money has now begun to be dispersed.

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 Country

Welsbach Superfund Site in Gloucester, New Jersey

Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey





From: Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit, More from this Affiliate
Published January 28, 2015 08:51 AM

Pollution Blamed as Leading Cause of Death in Developing World

In 2012, pollution – in the form of contaminated soil, water, and both indoor and outdoor air – was responsible for 8.4 million deaths in developing countries, finds Pollution: The Silent Killer of Millions in Poor Countries. That’s almost three times more deaths than those caused by malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis combined: Malaria claimed 600,000 lives in 2012, HIV/AIDS caused 1.5 million deaths and tuberculosis killed 900,000 individuals.

And the Ebola outbreak that had American legislators shaking in their suits, while ignoring more pressing national issues? Last year, fewer than 8,000 individuals died from the Ebola virus, the report says.




Worldwide, pollution is responsible for 8.9 million deaths – or 1 in 7 deaths globally. But 94 percent of the burden of pollution falls on lower-income countries “who are the least equipped to deal with the problem,” according to the report.

Of the 8.4 million pollution-caused deaths in developing countries, air pollution was the leading offender, the report finds. Forty-four percent of pollution-caused deaths resulted from household air pollution, such as cook stoves that contaminate the air, and 38 percent were caused by ambient air pollution, including particulates from power plants, cars and trucks. The contamination of soil and food from heavy metals released by industry and mining accounted for 10 percent of pollution-caused deaths, while local water systems, polluted by sewage and industrial waste, made up 8 percent. Cancers, strokes, and heart and respiratory diseases are just some of the fatal health conditions that can result from exposure to pollution, the report says.

Continue reading at ENN affiliate, Triple Pundit.

Slum image via Shutterstock.


U.S. reaches $5 billion environmental settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for damage to Nevada's Lake Mead, Navajo Nation and other sites


n this May 7, 1953, file photo, Navajo miners work at the Kerr McGee uranium mine at Cove, Ariz., on the Navajo reservation in Arizona. Kerr-McGee left abandoned uranium mine sites, including contaminated waste rock piles, in the Lukachukai mountains of Arizona and in the Ambrosia Lake area of New Mexico. The Lukachukai mountains are located immediately west of Cove, Ariz., and are a culturally significant part of the Navajo Nation. This site is among thousands that are part of the $5.15 billion settlement with Anadarko Petroleum Corp. with approximate amount of funding for cleanup efforts and details about the sites, in information provided by the Justice Department. (The Associated Press




$2 billion in funds headed for cleanups in Nevada and on the Navajo Nation from historic Anadarko settlement with U.S. EPA, States


Release Date: 01/23/2015

Contacts: Margot Perez-Sullivan, perezsullivan.margot@epa.gov, 415-947-4149 or Suzanne Skadowski, skadowski.suzanne@epa.gov, 415-972-3165

SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Justice announced the settlement reached with Anadarko and Kerr-McGee is now final, allowing funds to be disbursed for cleanups across the country.


The settlement secures payments of $5.15 billion to resolve claims that the defendants fraudulently transferred assets in part to evade their liability for contamination at toxic sites around the country. Of this total, approximately $4.4 billion will be used to clean the environment. This is the largest sum ever awarded in this type of a bankruptcy-related environmental settlement with the federal government. 


“Communities from the Navajo Nation to Henderson, Nevada are finally getting the funding needed to take crucial steps toward cleaning up toxic legacies that pollute their environment,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “After decades of trying to avoid their environmental responsibilities, Anadarko is today paying billions of dollars to immediately fund these and other critical environmental cleanups.”


“This recovery will lead to cleanups across the country that will undo lasting damage to the environment, including contamination of tribal lands, by Kerr-McGee’s businesses,” said John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “This result emphatically demonstrates the Justice Department’s commitment to environmental justice for all Americans, and it fulfills the Department’s promise to hold accountable those who pollute and those who try to foist their responsibility for cleanup on the American taxpayer.” 


An estimated $1.1 billion will be paid to a trust responsible for cleaning up a former chemical manufacturing site in Nevada that led to perchlorate contamination in Lake Mead. The site is located within the Black Mountain Industrial complex near Henderson, Nev. Fifty to 100 pounds of perchlorate are still seeping into Lake Mead every day, and the funds will allow that state’s Department of Environmental Protection to clean up the remaining underground sources of contamination.


The Henderson site is the largest perchlorate groundwater plume in the country. By way of the Las Vegas Wash, the plume has contaminated Lake Mead, which feeds into the Colorado River, a major source of drinking water in the Southwest. Perchlorate, a component in rocket fuel and fireworks, can interfere with the production of thyroid hormones, which are needed for prenatal and postnatal growth and development, as well as for normal metabolism and mental function in adults.


More than $985 million is expected to be paid to the U.S. EPA to fund the cleanup of approximately 50 abandoned uranium mines in and around the Navajo Nation, where radioactive waste remains from cold-war era Kerr-McGee mining operations.  Additionally, the Navajo Nation is expected to receive more than $43 million to address radioactive waste left at the former Kerr-McGee uranium mill in Shiprock, New Mex. The EPA is currently meeting with the Navajo Nation and the State of New Mexico to plan work to occur there later in 2015.


Kerr-McGee mined over 7 million tons of ore on or near the Navajo Nation from the late 1940s through the 1960s in the Lukachukai area, and from the 1950s to the 1980s in the Eastern and Ambrosia Lake areas. The Kerr-McGee Corp. was founded in 1929 as an energy company involved with oil and gas exploration and production, and uranium mining.  The company left abandoned uranium mine sites, including contaminated waste rock piles, in the Lukachukai Mountains of Arizona, the Eastern Agency of the Navajo Nation in New Mexico, and in the Ambrosia Lake/Grants Mining District of New Mexico.


Exposure to uranium and other radioactive elements in soil, dust, air, groundwater and surface water, including waste rock piles and materials used in building structures, poses risks to human health.


In addition to the cleanups in Nevada and on the Navajo Nation, funds are also starting to flow to cleanups across the nation, including sites in Jacksonville, Florida, West Chicago, Illinois, Columbus, Mississippi, and Navassa, North Carolina.


On April 3, 2014, the United States Department of Justice announced this settlement, which was then subject to a period of public comment and judicial approval.  After considering comments from the public, the United States sought approval of the settlement, and on November 10, 2014, the district court approved the agreement as “fair and reasonable.”  The deadline for any appeals from the district court’s decision passed on January 20, 2015, without any appeals having been taken.


Comments (4)

dmjepson said

at 12:38 pm on Nov 11, 2011

Interesting information of oil eating microbes being engineered...I didn't know where else to put this..


Ian Balcom (Dr B.) said

at 8:59 am on Sep 9, 2011

They do have a recycling program. Only initiated after Greenpeace made this campaign: http://www.greenmyapple.org/
They are a bit better than some companies, but by no means following a "Cradle to Cradle" design paradigm, as they should.

dmjepson said

at 11:56 pm on Sep 4, 2011

apple is just ridiculous. they make a new i-(insert pod,phone,pad...) every 6 months it seems. advancement of technology is great, but perhaps they could put more effort into R&D instead of using consumers as R&D...since they usually figure out what went wrong with the gen (1,2,3,4...) and then months later come out with a bigger and better one. I hear that they have recycling incentives, so hopefully they are actually doing it in a responsible manner...

dmjepson said

at 2:01 pm on Jun 8, 2011

this one about the declassification of 150 chemicals pretty much made my made. thanks! now for the other gazillion chemicals to go! especially those on hydrofracking....

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