CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Freedom Industries bankruptcy case is now officially settled.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Ronald Pearson gave final approval to Freedom’s bankruptcy plan on Tuesday, wrapping up more than a year and a half of intricate negotiations between the company’s lawyers, its creditors, lawsuit-filing local residents, environmental regulators and other parties.
The final agreement uses Freedom’s remaining assets and insurance money to finish cleaning up the site on the Elk River where, in January 2014, the company leaked 10,000 gallons of coal-cleaning chemicals, precipitating a region-wide water crisis.
The final agreement is virtually identical to the proposed agreement presented to Pearson in court last week.
Leftover money, of which there is expected to be about $2.1 million, will go to people and businesses who claimed losses from the chemical leak and resulting water contamination.
People with small claims — less than $3,000 — will, on average, collect a little less than half the money that they claimed they lost.
People with large claims will collect much less…