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Arkema Asks Judge to Pause Lawsuit over Fires during Harvey

The company says the lawsuit is “nearly identical” to a criminal case brought by Harris County.

Burned-out trailers sit at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, after Harvey flooded the plant and caused organic peroxides stored in the trailers to catch fire.

Chemical company Arkema wants a judge to pause a lawsuit until a separate criminal case against the company plays out.

Both cases stem from fires that broke out when more than five feet of water flooded the company’s plant in Crosby, Texas. Multiple first responders are suing the company, saying toxic chemical fumes from the fires made them sick. They also say they weren’t warned about hazards from the chemicals, a claim Arkema rejects.

Now, Arkema says a federal judge should put that case on hold, in part because it’s “nearly identical” to Harris County’s criminal case.

The county alleges Arkema “recklessly” polluted the air and put people at risk during the storm, also something the company rejects.

Attorneys for the first responders call the company’s latest move a “delay tactic,” and say they’re expecting it to fail. Arkema is facing multiple other lawsuits stemming from the storm, including a case brought by Liberty County.

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Travis Bubenik

Travis Bubenik

Energy & Environment Reporter

Travis Bubenik reports on the tangled intersections of energy and the environment in Houston and across Texas. A Houston native and proud Longhorn, he returned to the Bayou City after serving as the Morning Edition Host & Reporter for Marfa Public Radio in Far West Texas. Bubenik was previously the...

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