The federal government announced…the largest environmental settlement in United States history is final. Anadarko Petroleum and its subsidiaries will now shell out $5.15 billion for abandoning uranium mines on the Navajo Nation and other contamination they left around the country.
Over the years Anadarko has acquired several companies including Kerr-McGee, which mined more than seven million tons of uranium ore on the Navajo Nation during the Cold War.
Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Jared Blumenfeld said the companies tried to pass along billions of dollars in cleanup obligations to a subsidiary called Tronox and then attempted to bankrupt that company. Blumenfeld said people have fought a long time to get “the polluter to pay…”
More than a billion dollars will pay to clean up about 50 abandoned uranium mines on and around the Navajo Nation.
“It will mean we can immediately begin work on these sites,” Blumenfeld said. “It also means a real boost for their economy. We want to make sure these jobs stay on the Navajo Nation.”
Another $1.1 billion will go to clean up chemical manufacturing contamination near Lake Mead. Each day as much as a hundred pounds of perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, is still leaking into the reservoir that millions of people rely on for drinking water.
I hope some of the settlement is set aside for long-term care for Navajo uranium miners. Many basic safety regulations outside of Native American mines somehow never made to any Tribal lands.
Some of the resulting ailments – like Navajo Neuropathy – affected the succeeding generation. Leaving them without direct linkage to crap working conditions. You didn’t have to work the uranium mines to be affected.