Reviewing Silkwood at 25: The Reel Impact on Environmental Policy

17 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2008


The year 2008 will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the release of the film Silkwood, which depicted the events surrounding the apparent plutonium contamination and mysterious death of Kerr-McGee employee Karen Silkwood. The film featured the facts leading up to the case, but many would argue that the resulting lawsuit involved a legal battle worthy of a sequel. The Kerr-McGee Corporation may no longer exist, but the former company continues to impact our concepts of environmental policy, whistleblower protection, and damages awards through case law. This essay provides a comparative analysis of the case and its depiction in film and follows with a summary of how both continue to impact environmental policy.

Keywords: environmental law, Silkwood, toxic torts, film, whistleblower, Kerr-McGee, damages awards, plutonium

Suggested Citation

Anders, Kelly Lynn, Reviewing Silkwood at 25: The Reel Impact on Environmental Policy. South Texas Law Review, Vol. 49, No. 2, 2007. Available at SSRN:

Kelly Lynn Anders (Contact Author)

Jackson County Law Library, Inc. ( email )

1301 Oak Street, Suite 310
Kansas City, MO 64106
(816) 221-2221 (Phone)


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