BP to pay 50 million dollar fine for deadly 2005 Texas blast

Aug 12th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Featured

BP was also slapped with record fines for the pollution released as a result of the 2005 blast and failures to meet air quality standards afterwards.

BP is accused of illegally releasing approximately 500,000 pounds of harmful air pollutants over the course of 40 days earlier this year after a compressor caught fire due to poor maintenance.

BP could have avoided releasing the pollutants by idling the two units associated with the compressor until repairs were complete but instead prioritized “profits over environmental compliance,” Abbott said.

BP also agreed Thursday to spend 500 million dollars to improve safety conditions at the Texas city refinery and allow inspectors “unprecedented” access.

“This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at the refinery and ensuring that critical safety upgrades are made as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis.

“The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day.”

The settlement does not impact ongoing litigation over the 30 million fine imposed for 439 new “willful violations” discovered in the 2009 inspection.

“It is perfectly within BP’s means to make that facility safe,” OSHA Deputy Assistant Secretary Jordan Barab said in a conference call.

The settlement “commits them to a schedule to address those issues and it provides OSHA with an unprecedented level of oversight to make sure they do what they’re supposed to do,” he added.

The Texas City facility is BP’s largest refinery and has a feed capacity of approximately 460,000 barrels of crude oil per day. It processes a wide range of petroleum products, including gasoline, heavy fuel oil and sulfuric acid.

Along with another BP facility in Toledo, Ohio the refinery accounts for 97 percent of all flagrant violations found in the US refining industry by inspectors over the past three years, according to a report released in May by the Center for Public Integrity.

© 2010 AFP

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