BP Pays Big (Kinda) To Settle Texas City Pollution Claims

Good news and bad news for Texas City: The good news is that BP will be spending $167 million to reduce pollution in its plant there.

The bad news is that they were polluting the area so bad it's going to take $167 million to do something about it.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced today that BP, in order to settle a civil suit against it, will spend $161 million "on pollution controls, enhanced maintenance and monitoring, and improved internal management practices" and $6 million on "a supplemental project" to reduce Texas City pollution.

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The energy giant will also pay a $12 million civil penalty.

"BP failed to fulfill its obligations under the law, putting air quality and public health at risk," Catherine R. McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, said in the official announcement. "Today's settlement will improve air quality for the people living in and around Texas City, many of whom come from minority and low-income backgrounds."

Here's a heartwarming EPA summary of BP:

EPA identified the violations addressed in today's settlement during a series of inspections of the Texas City refinery initiated after a catastrophic explosion and fire in March 2005 that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others.

In October 2007, the company pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Air Act and agreed to pay a $50 million fine for violations related to the explosion,  the largest criminal fine ever assessed against a corporation for Clean Air Act violations. The plea is still under review by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, and today's settlement does not address any claims arising from the March 2005 explosion.

Here's more info on the settlement.

-- Richard Connelly

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