The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has secured $1 billion to clean up 10% of abandoned uranium mines on Navajo lands, officials have announced. Allocated to the EPA and the Navajo Nation, this will address radioactive waste and contamination near communities from 50 mines operated by Kerr McGee during the Cold War.
“The legacy of abandoned uranium mines on the Navajo Nation is closer to being remedied through today’s $1 billion settlement,” said EPA Regional Administrator Jared Blumenfeld; Department of Justice (DOJ) officials also secured funding.
Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was he was pleased with the Navajo initiative. “While we continue to request funds from federal agencies; we have not stood by idle,” said Shelly. Moreover, while “this will ease the burden, this is no way to address all our concerns.”
The settlement requires Anadarko and Kerr McGee to pay $5.15 billion to resolve fraudulent conveyance claims based on allegations defendants sought to evade their contamination liability at toxic sites nationwide. Of this, $4.4 billion will be slated for environmental cleanup. This represents the largest amount of money ever awarded in a bankruptcy-related settlement for environmental cleanup.