BP will to pay the State of Texas $50 million for air pollution violations at the site of an explosion in 2005 that killed 15 people. The settlement does not resolve lawsuits or investigations by other agencies, or any future problems at the refinery says Matthew Tejada, executive director of the Houston Air Alliance.
Tejada said it took Texas too long – more than six years – to resolve the violations, which he called an “indictment of the entire environmental enforcement system in the state. “The state of Texas wasn’t the one that suffered from all this pollution. It was the people of Texas City,” he said.
The Huffington Post reports:
The agreement covers 72 emissions violations since the explosion. But some environmentalists note the decades-old refinery consistently has problems complying with basic environmental regulations, and any buyer would have to contend with the lingering problems of old, outdated equipment.
BP Products North America and Texas both welcomed the agreement, with Attorney General Greg Abbott saying the dollar amount is a record-setter for the state’s clean air act.
“There are rules that must be followed, and if you violate those rules there will be consequences,” Abbott said. “They exposed Houstonians … to poor air quality and now they’re paying the price for it.”
BP said in a statement it views the settlement as a continuation of its attempts to improve operations at the Texas City refinery.
“BP has maintained a steady focus on improving safety and compliance at Texas City, and this agreement is an important milestone in the progress of operations at the facility,” the company said.