Last year the Lyondell Chemical Company was forced to pay some 7-million dollars in penalties for violating pollution standards at two Houston area facilities.
But Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott says what Liondell did was nothing compared to the pollution at BP’s Texas City plant.
“BP Products in Texas City has become an environmental disaster. It has polluted air. It has jeopardized the lives of people who work at the plant and it has illegally concealed important documents from the state of Texas.”
Abbott believes BP could wind up paying a hundred million dollars in penalties. This is the same BP plant where an explosion occurred in 2005, killing 15 workers and injuring close to 200.
BP emailed a statement to the media, saying it had no comment on the lawsuit, but that it has invested more than a billion dollars in upgrades and believes they will begin to pay off soon in the form of fewer emissions at the refinery.
But Abbott says BP was more talk than action.
“We were hopeful that they would step up, do the right thing and resolve this without the necessity of litigation. They failed to do so, requiring that we file this lawsuit and take this action through the court, if necessary getting a jury of 12 people to decide the extent to which BP Products should be held accountable.”
Abbott says BP admits to the unlawful emissions and was even willing to pay up to 10 thousand dollars per violation. But Abbott is accusing the company of multiple violations and thus the possibility of 100 million dollars in fines.
“This is the worse that I have seen so far. We are seeking penalties that would be a record in the state of Texas.”
The case goes to court at the end of the month.
Bill Stamps, KUHF Houston Public Radio News.
To see the lawsuit, visit http://www.oag.state.tx.us/newspubs/releases/2009/060409bp_pop.pdf.