Kerr-McGee Was Wrong to Dump Polluted Sites Into Spinoff Company, Judge Rules

  • Logan Layden

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Kerr-McGee, former Oklahoma-based oil and gas company, was sold to Houston-based Anadarko Petroleum in 2006. But not before Kerr-McGee transferred polluted sites in more than 20 states to a spin-off company, Tronox Ltd.

On Thursday, a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge ruled that was improper, and now Anadarko Petroleum could be held liable for up to $14 billion dollars in damages, as The Oklahoman‘s Brianna Bailey reports:

U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Allan Gropper held in his 166-page opinion issued Thursday that Kerr-McGee foisted responsibility for 85 years worth of polluted Kerr-McGee sites onto Tronox to make the company a more attractive candidate to sell to a larger company like Anadarko.

Tronox itself filed for bankruptcy in January 2009 and is doing the suing in this case.

The liabilities Kerr-McGee transferred to Tronox included contaminated sites in 22 states, including the former Kerr-McGee Cimarron nuclear fuel processing plant near Cushing.

Anadarko’s chairman, president and CEO told the paper he “vehemently disagrees” with the ruling, and his company will “pursue every avenue available to us through the appellate process to protect the interests of our stakeholders, once a final judgement including damages has been rendered.”