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BP Unit to Pay Texas $50 Million in Pollution Settlement

BP Products North America Inc. agreed to pay $50 million to Texas to settle enforcement actions claiming the company violated environmental protection laws at its Texas City refinery, the state attorney general said.

Texas alleged the BP Plc unit emitted pollutants during and after a March 2005 explosion at the refinery. The blast, set off when a refinery unit that boosts octane in gasoline overflowed and ignited in a fireball, killed 15 and injured hundreds.

“The proposed agreement resolves the state’s enforcement actions against BP Products for unlawful pollutant emissions at its Texas City refinery,” Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said today in a press release. The agreement “reflects the state’s commitment to protecting air quality and holding polluters accountable for illegal emissions,” he said.

Abbott sued BP in 2009, alleging violations of state environmental laws in connection to the 2005 explosion. The state later added allegations of additional violations covering emissions in 2010, the attorney general said today.

The agreement “is an important milestone in the progress of operations” at the Texas City refinery, Daren Beaudo, a BP spokesman, said in an e-mail. “BP has made major investments in our people, our plant and our processes to modernize the Texas City refinery, and we have an ongoing program of continuous improvement to further enhance plant safety and environmental compliance.”

BP previously paid a $50 million fine and pleaded guilty to one violation of the federal Clean Air Act to resolve U.S. claims over the 2005 explosion. The company also paid about $180 million in 2009 to settle civil allegations of clean air violations brought by the U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency.

The case is State of Texas v. BP Products North America Inc., D-1-GV-09-000921, District Court, Travis County, Texas (Austin).

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