Refinery accidents are kept as quiet as possible by the responsible party — especially when the responsible party is oil and gas giant BP. Two weeks before the catastrophic 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a BP refinery in Texas City quietly released over 500,000 pounds of gases into the air via a tall flare used to burn pollutants away. For 40 days, the refinery spewed gases into the air, including over 17,000 pounds of benzene, a known carcinogen.
BP Lawsuits and Settlements 2012
In June, 50,000 residents of the Texas City area joined in a class-action lawsuit against BP for prolonged exposure to benzene emissions. Texas also filed suit and the Environmental Protection Agency is still investigating the incident. It may come as no surprise that BP recently settled a $15 million claim with the EPA over another disastrous explosion in 2005 at the Texas City refinery that killed 15 people. For that disaster, OSHA slammed BP with a whopping $50 million fine for noncompliance and safety violations that led to the explosion.
Refinery Accidents Aren’t the Only Trouble
In October 2012, a tank rupture at a Texas City plant owned by Dallas Group of America spilled 300 gallons of hydrochloric acid, which formed a toxic cloud over the area. Nine people were hospitalized for exposure to the chemical, including four firefighters and four employees of the plant. Hydrochloric acid is a harsh chemical able to corrode human tissue and cause serious damage to human organs. The chemical spill caused 45,000 Texas City area residents to stay indoors, close windows and doors and turn off air conditioning units. It is too soon to know the fallout of this chemical spill.
Your Oil Rig and Refinery Accident Attorney
Accidents related to oil, gas and other resources are often caused by the negligence of huge corporations shunning their responsibility to safety. Companies such as BP have been fined repeatedly for cutting corners on public and employee safety. When negligence occurs from noncompliance with safety regulations, accidents can happen — and they are no accident.
If you have been injured by an accident in the oil and natural gas industry, you need an attorney with the skill and experience to fight these corporations for your rights. Call the Law Office of W.T. Johnson at (214) 231-0544 today.