$151M settlement in chemical leak lawsuit

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A federal judge has tentatively approved a $151 million settlement involving two companies sued over a 2014 chemical spill that contaminated drinking water in southern West Virginia.

U.S. District Judge John Copenhaver approved the proposed deal Monday afternoon after more than two hours of closed-door negotiations on the wording of the agreement.

Stuart Calwell, an attorney representing the class-action residents and businesses, says that under the settlement, West Virginia American Water Co. will pay $126 million and chemical maker Eastman Chemical will pay $25 million.

The money will be distributed to affected residents and businesses through an application process to be determined later.

In January 2014, a tank at Freedom Industries in Charleston leaked chemicals into the drinking water supply for 300,000 people, prompting a tap-water ban for days.

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