EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced September 30, 2010, that BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to pay a $15 million civil penalty to settle alleged Clean Air Act violations at its Texas City Refinery. The penalty is reportedly the largest ever assessed for civil violations of the CAA’s chemical accident prevention regulations, also known as the risk management program regulations, and the largest civil penalty recovered under the CAA at an individual facility.
The proposed settlement addresses alleged violations stemming from two fires that occurred at the refinery in March 2004 and July 2005, and a leak that occurred in August 2005. In each of the incidents, residents of the surrounding community were ordered to shelter-in-place due to the release of thousands of pounds of flammable and toxic air pollutants. The March 2004 fire included a catastrophic explosion and fire that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others. The settlement also resolves allegations that BP failed to identify all regulated hazardous air pollutants used at the refinery in plans submitted to EPA. See DOJ Press Release, September 30, 2010.