BP Products North America Inc. has agreed to pay a $15 million penalty to resolve federal Clean Air Act violations relating to two fires and a leak at its Texas City, Texas, oil refinery, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department said Thursday.
The fires - in March 2004 and July 2005 - and the leak in August 2005 released thousands of pounds of flammable and toxic air pollutants, the EPA said.
The violations were identified during investigations after a separate incident - a March 2005 explosion and fire that killed 15 people and injured more than 170 others, the EPA said.
The agreement announced Thursday is subject to a court approval.
The $15 million penalty would bring to roughly $137 million the amount in criminal, civil and administrative fees that BP has paid relating to safety violations at the refinery, which is the third-largest refinery in the United States, the EPA said. BP pleaded guilty to a felony in connection with the 2005 explosion.
Also a result of previous settlements relating to the 2005 blast, BP has taken corrective actions worth $1.4 billion and will spend about $500 million more to improve the refinery’s safety, the EPA said.
The $15 million penalty would be the largest civil penalty recovered for Clean Air Act violations at a single facility, according to the EPA.
The EPA still is investigating an incident “that resulted in the flaring of chemicals” at the facility between April and May of this year, said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA’s office of enforcement and compliance assurance.
“Beyond this investigation, EPA continues to scrutinize BP’s Texas City operations and is committed to holding BP accountable for its actions,” Giles said.