- - Thursday, November 3, 2011


BP to pay Texas $50M for refinery pollution

HOUSTON | Oil company BP has agreed to pay Texas $50 million for air pollution violations at a Gulf Coast refinery where a 2005 explosion killed 15 workers, the state’s attorney general announced Thursday.

The settlement between BP Products North America and the state of Texas resolves 72 emissions violations starting in 2005, Attorney General Greg Abbott told a Houston news conference. The violations include some that contributed to the massive explosion six years ago at the Texas City refinery.

The settlement’s announcement comes as BP PLC struggles to resolve issues surrounding an April 2010 explosion at an offshore rigging platform that killed 11 people and caused the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

It also comes just a few months after the company indicated a desire to sell the Texas City refinery. The agreement could make it easier for the company to find a buyer, because its pollution liabilities with the state have been settled. In August 2010, BP reached a $50.6 million settlement with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for failing to correct safety violations after the 2005 explosion. At the time, OSHA indicated it was also trying to force the company to pay an additional $30 million in fines.

BP said in a statement it was pleased with the settlement.


Court tosses $43M award against Ford

ST. LOUIS | The Illinois Supreme Court has reversed a jury’s $43 million award against Ford Motor Co. for a fiery crash near Granite City, Ill., that killed a man and disfigured his wife.

John and Dora Jablonski were headed home to Florissant, Mo., in July 2003 when they were hit from behind. A pipe wrench in the trunk pierced the gas tank of the Jablonskis’ 1993 Lincoln Town Car.

Attorney Brad Lakin contended the design of the car, with its fuel tank behind the rear axle, caused the fire. He said Ford should have warned owners or retrofitted the vehicles with safety devices.

The Supreme Court ruled Illinois law doesn’t require a company to warn of defects not detected before the product left the manufacturer.

Mr. Lakin couldn’t be reached for comment.


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