BP agrees to court order to end illegal emissions at Texas plant

Chris Rizo Jun. 29, 2009, 12:17pm

Greg Abbott (R)

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline)- BP Products North America Inc. agreed Monday to review its air monitoring systems and conduct investigations of emission events at its Texas City, Texas, refinery, the state attorney general's office said.

Attorney General Greg Abbott and BP Products North America's agreement is outlined in a temporary injunction that bars the company's Texas City refinery from unlawfully emitting pollutants.

Abbott, a Republican, said he will still go forward with a lawsuit he filed this month, charging BP with 46 separate unlawful pollutant emissions at the refinery, including releases of carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.

The petrochemical company could face more than $100 million in penalties.

In a statement, BP said it wants to work with state officials to resolve the 97-page enforcement action that BP violated various state laws.

The AG's pending lawsuit against BP includes the illegal emission linked to a March 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170 others.

The attorney general is seeking unspecified monetary damages for each day each violation that occurred plus legal fees. The company has not admitted to any wrongdoing.

The Texas City BP plant produces gasoline, distillates, fuel oil, sulfuric acid, petroleum coke and petrochemical feedstocks.

The complaint said the company has engaged in a "pattern of unnecessary and unlawful emissions" that led the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to file 15 enforcement orders against BP between 2000 and 2007.

The attorney general noted that the 2005 Texas City explosion led to the unlawful release of contaminants for more than 160 hours.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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