Oklahoma Residents Settle for $119 Million Over Old Blackwell Smelter

"BLACKWELL, Okla. — Blackwell Zinc Co. paid one of the best wages in Kay County before environmental problems and contamination concerns closed it in 1974. Now some residents here are entitled to one last payday — this time for damages caused by the smelter operation."

"In January, Blackwell property owners received a 16-page letter notifying them that a nearly $119 million agreement has been reached in their class-action lawsuit. The settlement would allow for about $70 million in payments to landowners and for additional environmental cleanup.

The lawsuit was filed after 38 years of promises to clean up the site by larger companies that bought out Blackwell Zinc Co. The city of Blackwell in 2009, along with property owners, sued its current owner Arizona-based Freeport-McMoRan Cooper & Gold Inc., holding the company responsible for contamination to the groundwater supply and soil."

Ann Kelley reports for the Oklahoma City Oklahoman February 1, 2012.

Source: Oklahoman, 02/01/2012