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Texas announces $50-million settlement with BP over explosion

November 3, 2011 | 12:06 pm

Refinery
BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to pay Texas $50 million for air pollution associated with a 2005 explosion at a Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers.

Texas Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott announced Thursday that the settlement with the oil company resolves 72 emissions violations the company accrued during the last six years.

“The Texas attorney general’s office is committed to protecting our state’s precious natural resources by enforcing environmental pollution laws," he said in a statement. "The proposed agreement reflects the state’s commitment to protecting air quality and holding polluters accountable for illegal emissions.”

The Texas City refinery, about 35 miles south of Houston, is the third-largest in the country.

BP officials, who announced in February that the refinery was for sale, issued a statement to The Times on Thursday saying they are committed to improving safety at the facility, modernizing and reducing emissions.

"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," they said in the statement issued by a spokesman in the BP America Houston office.

"We have an ongoing program of continuous improvement to further enhance plant safety and environmental compliance," they said. "All of these steps are consistent with our strong commitment to environmental stewardship, compliance, and specifically, our efforts to even further reduce the frequency and size of emissions events at the Texas City refinery."

Thursday's settlement came as BP was still attempting to resolve claims surrounding the massive April 2010 explosion at an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana that killed 11 people and caused the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

RELATED:

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Gulf oil spill: BP gets most blame in government report

BP wins approval for new deep-water drilling in Gulf of Mexico

--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Houston

Photo: Workers sift through debris at the BP facility in Texas City after an explosion in 2005 that killed 15 people. Credit: William Philpott / Agence France Presse/Getty Images.

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