Benzene Leak at Texas City Plant Just One Of Many “Hidden Disasters”
August 11th, 2010 – Houston, TX – On the heels of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and ensuing oil spill, BP has suffered yet another embarrassing accident in one of its North American refineries. The recently publicized chemical leak lasting 40 days through April and May of this year and went unreported by BP, particularly to the very community and workforce it was affecting. While this incident at the Texas City refinery is another black eye for BP, it is only the most recent in a long string of environmental failures. In fact, last fall the Texas Attorney General filed a Temporary Restraining Order against BP in a suit that listed dozens of other emissions releases similar to this latest chemical leak. (copy of the TXAG petition)
“Problems such as this are far too common from industrial complexes throughout the country and this massive emissions release at the BP Texas City refinery is just the most recent in a long line of avoidable failures at BP”, says Brent Coon, founder of Brent Coon and Associates. BCA is working directly with the United Steel Workers, the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Justice in ongoing investigations into BP operations.
BCA is also continuing to push for the revocation of BP’s probation stemming from a 2007 plea agreement with the DOJ for other emissions violations which contributed to the massive explosion at the Texas City facility in 2005, killing 15 and injuring hundreds.
“BP has continually disregarded citations and refused to comply with an OSHA settlement agreement mandating safety work processes in Texas City,” said Brent Coon. “This was a condition of the probation BP received from that incident and their failure to abide by the terms of the OSHA agreement constitutes noncompliance with the DOJ plea as well”. BCA has been joined in efforts to set aside the 2007 plea by the Perry&Haas Law Firm in Corpus Christi.
“Year after year the Texas City plant receives a string of citations and fines which they negotiate down and simply pay off without fixing the problems. In this particular incident, it’s astounding that this leak continued for 40 days without the employees or residents knowing anything about it.”
The entire workforce and community have been bombarded with fugitive emissions from this plant time and time again over the years, and state and federal agencies need to step up enforcement of their regulations so that these catastrophic events no longer occur.
About Brent Coon & Associates:
BCA is now at the epicenter of the oil spill litigation. In addition to representing hundreds of rig workers, shrimpers, fishermen and business/condo owners across the Gulf Coast, Brent Coon is serving on an ad hoc committee of attorneys advising and assisting Ken Feinberg on the administration of the $20B Claims Fund.
Brent Coon & Associates was the lead counsel in the BP Texas City Explosion of March 23, 2005, representing hundreds of affected workers. Working with the Chemical Safety Board, Department of Justice, the USW and other organizations, BCA released over 7 million documents to the media concerning refinery safety and played a pivotal role in establishing the occurrences of multiple, major safety violations. Conditions of settlements also included a precedent setting charitable donations program which raised 44 million dollars for UTMB, Texas A&M’s Process Safety Management Center, College of the Mainland, St. Jude’s, and the James and Linda Rowe Scholarship foundations. Brent Coon and his client Eva Rowe were awarded the Steven J. Sharp Award for Excellence by the American Association of Justice for their role.