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Navajo Nation to see $1B from settlement for uranium cleanup

Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly reported to the Dzil Yijiin Regional Council on April 3, 2014, at the Black Mesa Chapter House in Arizona. President Shelly shared news from the Navajo Nation, including the $1 billion bankruptcy settlement for abandoned uranium mine cleanup from Kerr-McGee. He said the settlement was a major victory for the Navajo Nation and that the remaining abandoned mines still need funding for cleanup. Photo by Rick Abasta/Navajo Nation Office of the President and Vice President

The Navajo Nation will see $1 billion from a landmark settlement to address abandoned uranium sites across the U.S.

The reservation is home to some of the most toxic uranium sites. The $1 billion will be used to clean up 49 sites that were owned by the Kerr-McGee Corporation.

“I am proud to say ahe’hee to the Navajo people for your patience and prayers,” Navajo President Ben Shelly said in a press release. “The settlement will be a great help in restoring the abandoned uranium mine sites, but we must not forget about the 460 other sites still in need of cleanup funds.”

In total, Kerr-McGee and its parent, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, agreed to pay $5.15 billion to settle a fraudulent conveyance case that involved the Navajo Nation, the federal government, 22 states and other claimants. The settlement is said to be the largest ever of its kind.

“Kerr-McGee's businesses all over this country left significant, lasting environmental damage in their wake,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole of the Department of Justice said in a press release. “It tried to shed its responsibility for this environmental damage and stick the United States taxpayers with the huge cleanup bill. Through a lot of hard work, we uncovered this fraud and recovered over $5 billion dollars for the American people. This settlement demonstrates the Justice Department’s firm commitment to preventing and combating all forms of fraud and to securing environmental justice.”

The Navajo Nation will use the money for sites in Arizona and New Mexico.

Get the Story:
Feds reach $5.15B settlement over mining cleanup (AP 4/3)
US reaches $5.15 billion environmental settlement (AP 4/3)
Top toxic sites in Anadarko Petroleum settlement (AP 4/3)
$1 billion settlement to aid Navajo mine cleanup (The Arizona Republic 4/4)
Anadarko Petroleum to pay $5.15 billion to settle pollution case, Justice Dept. says (The Washington Post 4/4)
Anadarko Pays Billions in Settling Toxins Case (The New York Times 4/4)

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