Petrochemicals agree to settle with Texas AG for $6.5 million

Chris Rizo Aug. 26, 2008, 11:11am

Greg Abbott (R)

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)- The operator of seven petrochemical plants in Houston and along the Texas Gulf Coast have reached a settlement with the state attorney general's office.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said under a proposed settlement, two Lyondell Chemical Company subsidiaries that operated the plants in six cities will each pay $3.25 million in penalties.

Defendants Equistar Chemicals and Millenium Petrochemicals Inc. were charged with repeatedly failing to prevent the release of harmful pollutants into the atmosphere at their plants in Beaumont, La Porte, Channelview, Chocolate Bayou, Corpus Christi and Bayport.

The agreement, which has yet to be approved by a judge, calls for Equistar and Millenium to each set aside $500,000 to fund supplemental environmental projects identified by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

"Texas has an obligation to enforce environmental laws that protect the health and safety of its residents," Abbott said in a statement. "Industrial growth must be balanced with environmental stewardship in order to ensure a bright future for our state. We are committed to working with industry leaders to protect the quality of our air, water and natural resources for future generations."

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said its investigation found that the facilities were releasing volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.

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