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 refineryâ€™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 â€śthat resulted in the flaring of chemicalsâ€ť at the facility between April and May of this year, said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPAâ€™s office of enforcement and compliance assurance.
Â â€śBeyond this investigation, EPA continues to scrutinize BPâ€™s Texas City operations and is committed to holding BP accountable for its actions,â€ť Giles said.