People who lived in the Houston area in 2005 remember the explosion that rocked the BP plant in Texas City, killing 15 people and injuring 170 others. Workers settled their claims with BP in separate lawsuits, but the state of Texas filed its own lawsuit. And so now BP has settled not just this case, but 72 other violations for a total of $50 million.
This is Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott:
"They didn’t follow the rules, they emitted pollution, they harmed the air, they exposed Houstonians at being at risk, because of poor air quality and now they’re paying the price for it."
The settlement is for 72 violations of the Clean Air Act, starting with the 2005 incident and going up to present date. Abbott says there was more than one type of pollution involved.
"They include volcanic organic compounds, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides among others — so different types of emissions, at different types of locations, at the plant over different periods of time."
BP released a statement saying quote…
"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 state of Texas is sending a strong and clear message and that is for companies that do business in the state of Texas: don’t mess with Texas air quality."
The Attorney General says BP probably would have had to pay more than $50 million if the 72 violations were pursued individually, but that might have taken years and he’s also not sure how many of them the state would have won.