BP pays another fine for Texas refinery

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The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today it will collect a $15 million fine from BP for Clean Air Act violations, the latest in a series of federal government fines and settlements linked to BP’s Texas City, Texas refinery.

Between March 2004 and August 2005, a series of fires, explosions, and leaks ripped through the Texas City refinery, releasing thousands of pounds of flammable and toxic air pollutants into the air.

The $15 million penalty resolves problems found by EPA inspectors after a catastrophic explosion at the Texas City refinery on March 23, 2005, which killed 15 and injured 170 others. The settlement, which involves allegations that BP failed to tell the EPA about all regulated hazardous air pollutants used at the refinery, must be approved by a federal judge.

Last month, BP agreed to pay a $50.6 million fine in a settlement with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and promised to spend at least $500 million to upgrade its Texas City refinery. The Center for Public Integrity reported in May that BP’s refineries in Texas City and in Ohio accounted for 97 percent of what OSHA classified as the worst worker safety violations in the refining industry.

In February 2009, BP paid a $12 million fine to the EPA to settle other alleged Clean Air Act violations at the same refinery. BP’s Texas City refinery is the third-largest in the United States and processes more than 460,000 barrels of oil per day.

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