BP to Pay Largest Ever Pollution Fine in Texas Refinery Case

By Jason Beahm on October 01, 2010 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It looks like BP will be opening its wallet once again. The energy company agreed to pay $15 million to resolve violations of the Clean Air Act in a Texas refinery case. The violations came at a refinery in Texas City, Texas, which had been hit by a number of scandals over the past few years. The Clean Air Act is a law outlines the responsibilities for the EPA with regard to maintaining the environment. The Clean Air Act was last updated by Amendment of 1990. Several minor changes have been made since then by the legislature.

The $15 million represents the largest Clean Air Act recovery at an individual facility. The pollution fine now leaves a total figure of $137 million recovered by the federal government from BP for violations involving fires and toxic leaks. The Texas City refinery first came under investigation after a 2005 explosion that killed 15 people and injured over 170, The New York Times reports. BP paid a $50 million fine to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for a number of violations related to the blast. As of 2009, the Texas attorney general had sued BP for violating the Clean Air Act 72 times in the previous five years.

According to the EPA, BP has spent $1.4 billion over the Texas refinery case to bring the refinery into compliance and will put $500 million towards improve plant safety. "BP's actions at the Texas City refinery have had terrible consequences for the people who work there and for those in nearby communities," Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the E.P.A.'s office of enforcement and compliance assurance, said in a statement, The New York Times reports.

However, this pollution fine is still only the beginning of the story. Texas City residents have filed a $10 billion class action lawsuit against BP. The case is likely to bring out further information regarding the practices at the notorious refinery.

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