« Ind. Decisions - Two Indiana opinions from 7th Circuit today | Main | Ind. Law - More on: Blood draw law might benefit from another look by the legislature »

Monday, August 30, 2010

Environment - BP refinery apparently not "good neighbor" in Texas

"With Neighbors Unaware, Toxic Spill at a BP Plant" is the headline to a story today in the NY Times reported by James C. McKinley, Jr., and datelined Texas City., Texas. The long story begins:

While the world was focused on the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery here released huge amounts of toxic chemicals into the air that went unnoticed by residents until many saw their children come down with respiratory problems.

For 40 days after a piece of equipment critical to the refinery’s operation broke down, a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including the carcinogen benzene, poured out of the refinery.

Rather than taking the costly step of shutting down the refinery to make repairs, the engineers at the plant diverted gases to a smokestack and tried to burn them off, but hundreds of thousands of pounds still escaped into the air, according to state environmental officials.

Neither the state nor the oil company informed neighbors or local officials about the pollutants until two weeks after the release ended, and angry residents of Texas City have signed up in droves to join a $10 billion class-action lawsuit against BP. The state attorney general, Greg Abbott, has also sued the company, seeking fines of about $600,000.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 30, 2010 12:47 PM
Posted to Environment