January 6, 2016

Top-5 DOJ Environmental Fraud Settlements For 2015

By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team

Here is our look-back at the top-5 DOJ settlements for environmental fraud or misconduct for 2015.

     5.  PECHINEY PLASTIC — Pechiney Plastic Packaging Inc. agreed to pay roughly $29.5 million and perform cleanup work of about $62.5 million in connection with contaminated soil and groundwater at the Pohatcong Valley Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site in New Jersey. Albéa Americas Inc., Bristol-Myers Squibb, Citigroup, and Rexam Beverage Can Company were also part of the settlement.  Click here for more.

     4.  DUKE ENERGY — Three subsidiaries of the North Carolina-based Duke Energy Corporation, the largest utility in the United States, pleaded guilty to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act at several of its North Carolina facilities and agreed to pay a $68 million criminal fine and spend $34 million on environmental projects and land conservation to benefit rivers and wetlands in North Carolina and Virginia. Four of the charges are the direct result of the massive coal ash spill from the Dan River steam station into the Dan River near Eden, North Carolina, in February 2014.  Click here for more.

     3.  WYETH — Wyeth Holdings, a subsidiary of the Pfizer Corporation, agreed to perform nearly $194 million worth of cleanup work at the American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. The American Cyanamid Superfund Site has a history of industrial pollution dating back to 1915.  Click here for more.

     2.  ANDARKO PETROLEUM/KERR MCGEE — The companies agreed to make payments totaling $5.15 billion to be used for cleanups across the country that according to the government “will undo lasting damage to the environment, including contamination of tribal lands by Kerr-McGee’s businesses.” It is the largest payment for the clean-up of environmental contamination ever obtained by the DOJ.  Click here for more.

     1.  BP — The oil and gas company agreed to pay roughly $20.8 billion to resolve government claims under the Clean Water Act and Oil Pollution Act arising from the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig which sent more than three million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over a 3 month period, resulting in oil slicks that extended across more than 43,000 square miles. It is the largest settlement with a single entity in the DOJ’s history.  Click here for more.

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