Shell Pays $500K to County for Not Telling About Pollution Incidents

Shell Chemical has settled a threatened lawsuit over not notifying Harris County of five pollution incidents at its Deer Park plant, County Attorney Vince Ryan has announced.

"The failure of a company as large and prestigious as Shell to notify the county of serious air-pollution releases was unacceptable," Ryan said. "We are pleased that the company has accepted its responsibility and has agreed to work with us in the future."

Shell did notify state authorities of the incidents, which occurred between April 2008 and March 2010. But Ryan says it was also required to notify the Harris County Pollution Control Services Department.

"This was an important case that made clear to Shell and other petrochemical companies that Harris County takes the health of its citizens seriously and will demand compliance with environmental laws," said Todd Mensing, an attorney with Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing, which represented the county. "It was also important because it resulted in an important concession from Shell that it must alert HCPCS, and not just the state, of pollution events.

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