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Residents of northern Nevada have been awarded a settlement of up to a $19.5 million in a class action case regarding the toxic chemicals that leaked from the Anaconda copper mine, operated by BP America's subsidiary Atlantic Richfield Company.
The legal action was started in 2011 by a group of nearly 700 local residents, who claimed that the mine operator and its parent company had deliberately tried to hide the truth about the extent of contamination caused to the environment and to their drinking water by toxic chemicals, including uranium and arsenic. The Anaconda mine was opened in 1941 and covers an area equal to the size of 3,000 football fields, the Associated Press reported.
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Although neither company admitted any wrongdoing in the way the mine was managed, both BP America and Atlantic Richfield agreed to pay out $7 million in property damages. In addition, they will contribute $900,000 to a medical screening and monitoring fund. The companies will also cover the cost of extending city water supplies to 200 residents, estimated to cost between $6.5 million and $12.5 million. As part of the settlement both companies are required to pay $2.6 million in attorney fees, the news source said.
In an email sent to the Associated Press, BP America said that the settlement was "fair and reasonable," adding that it guarantees clean drinking water to the local community.