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BP pays record pollution fine for Texas refinery accidents

September 30, 2010 |  1:01 pm


The federal Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice announced a settlement Thursday with BP Products North America over several leaks and fires at its Texas City refinery.

The settlement, for $15 million, was the largest single-facility penalty for violation of the Clean Air Act. It brings the sum of civil, criminal and administrative fines assessed against the refiner to more than $130 million, according to the EPA.

The settlement related to three leaks, two of which caused major fires, and all of which required residents of surrounding communities to take shelter. Thousands of pounds of toxic and flammable compounds were released during the accidents, according to the EPA.

The agreement is subject to a comment period and court approval.

The fines do not relate to the March 2005 inferno that killed 15 people. A separate settlement with federal regulators required the petroleum giant to make improvements that cost more than $1.4 billion after that fatal blaze.

BP’s Texas City refinery is the third-largest in the United States, with a production capacity of more than 460,000 barrels of oil per day. 

-- Geoff Mohan

Photo: Firefighters douse BP's Texas City refinery after a fatal 2005 blaze. Credit: Brett Coomer / Houston Chronicle