Judge Approves West Virginia Water Crisis Settlement

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A federal judge has given final approval of a $151 million settlement of a lawsuit stemming from a chemical spill into a West Virginia river.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports that U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver granted approval Friday of a 2014 settlement between plaintiffs and West Virginia American Water and Eastman Chemical Co.

Businesses and residents sued after a chemical known as Crude MCHM spilled from a storage tank at Freedom Industries into the Elk River, upriver from West Virginia American Water’s plant in Charleston.

The class-action lawsuit claimed West Virginia American Water didn’t react to or prepare for the spill, and that Eastman Chemical, which made MCHM, didn’t do enough to warn Freedom Industries of the chemical’s danger. The settlement is supposed to cover 300,000 people.