"HOUSTON — A giant Texas oil company, Anadarko Petroleum, has agreed to pay $5.1 billion for a vast environmental cleanup, a sum the Justice Department said was the largest it had ever won in such a case.
The settlement, announced on Thursday, is aimed at restoring thousands of sites polluted by toxins and compensating thousands of people with personal injury claims.
The case stretches back almost a decade, originating with claims against Kerr-McGee, an Oklahoma energy and chemical company that is now a subsidiary of Anadarko, one of the country’s most successful oil and gas producers.
Anadarko had argued that it could not be held liable for pollution caused by Kerr-McGee, which had ostensibly passed the liabilities on to a spinoff company called Tronox, now bankrupt. But a bankruptcy judge said the reorganization was simply an attempt to dodge liability."