More Than 50,000 People Sue BP Over Air Pollution At Texas City Refinery

The fatal disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico was the driving force behind its 2011 Worst Company In America win. But many voters also pointed to incidents at other BP facilities, like the Texas City refinery that released about 500,000 pounds of pollutants into the air over the course of 40 days. Now a group of more than 50,000 people are suing BP over that little oopsy.

The incident, related to a problem with a compressor at the refinery, allowed excess chemicals like carbon monoxide and benzene to be released into the air between April 6 and May 16, 2010.

The company has already paid a $50 million fine after being sued by the state of Texas for violating the state’s air quality laws.

Now the Galveston Daily News reports that 53,800 people have filed suit against BP, alleging the Texas City incident made them ill.

However, a BP rep tells the paper that those chemicals could not have done the harm the plaintiffs are claiming:

Neither the community air monitoring network nor the BP fence-line monitors showed elevated (harmful emission) readings during April and May 2010, and we do not believe that any negative health impacts resulted from flaring at BP’s Texas City Refinery during this period… BP is defending and will continue to defend the lawsuits brought against it concerning this matter.

The Texas City plant was also the site of a 2005 explosion and fire that left 15 workers dead and 170 injured.

50,000 sue BP over air emissions event [Galveston Daily News]

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  1. Invader Zim says:

    YAY now come on East Chicago/Gary/Hammond you do it…..Might as well go the the soap factory while your there.

  2. HomerSimpson says:

    “And we didn’t spill any oil in the Gulf neither, no matter what the tree huggers say! So there!”

    • Scooby111 says:

      No, this is more along the lines of, “There is no proof that the spill caused any damage.” This would obviously be untrue in the case of the oil spill and nobody would make that argument. For that reason, the analogy is very faulty.

      In this case, the mere fact that they emitted the pollutants does not mean that there were any actual negative health effects from the emission. In order for a lawsuit to move forward, you need to have standing. This means that you have to be able to show actual damages.

  3. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    At what point is a company just so awful that you can tell then that they aren’t allowed to do business in your state anymore, b/c certainly BP should qualify for that in Texas. Making a three strikes and your out law for businesses would be great.

    • deathbecomesme says:

      You do know that oil is one of the biggest if not biggest resource Texas has, right? We would never kick them out. it would cost us too many jobs. We’d rather slap them on the writs with a 50 million dollar fine and give them tax incentives 10x that amount lol

      • Cor Aquilonis says:

        All of your post made sense except the lol. I imagine it’s a dry, world-weary cackle of cynicism.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      This is Texas. They’ll throw out the lawsuit, then drag the plaintiffs through town behind their Pickups.

      • Scooby111 says:

        They should throw out the lawsuit. In order for a lawsuit to move forward, they plaintiffs need to have standing. In order to show standing they will need to show actual damages. How can you possibly show actual damages when there cannot possibly be any damages yet?

    • nishioka says:

      How dare you suggest we punish “job creators” for their misdeeds. Shame on you. /s

  4. Thorzdad says:

    {obligatory “If they don’t like the air, they should move.” post}

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      If you don’t like the air, quit breathing. B)

  5. CrazyEyed says:

    The suing parties probably won’t be able to actually prove they got sick from the chemicals in the air, just as much as BP can’t prove they didn’t get sick. Unless someone can come forward with a medical report showing Chemicals as the direct culprit, and unless BP can prove through independent testing (not their own fence-line monitors) for that day, nobody will get a dime except the lawyers.

  6. TheUncleBob says:

    Imagine a world where companies like this pay the government for permission to freely pollute the air.

    Then, when you try to sue, they get to use the defense “Sorry, we paid your elected government for the right to do this.” and you lose – no matter how real your actual damages are.

    • TheMansfieldMauler says:

      Imagine a world where companies like this pay the government for permission to freely pollute the air.

      You mean, they buy “carbon credits”?

      • TheUncleBob says:

        Yup. It’s a good plan, don’t you think.

        I’m sure we can trust our elected officials to have our best interests at heart.

        • RedShirt says:

          Actually it is a good plan because the actual plan is absolutely nothing like what you describe… first off, carbon credits wouldn’t cover benzine or even carbon monoxide, second they wouldn’t shield a company from civil litigation AT ALL.

          Next time, try to get a clue before posting so as not to spread misinformation and total BS. There’s enough bullshit on the internet without you adding to the pile.

      • Galium says:

        Of course, and that equates to the pollution does not go down because they have a permission slip. Carbon credits are the stupidest idea since microwave toast.

  7. crispyduck13 says:

    The company has already paid a $50 million fine after being sued by the state of Texas for violating the state’s air quality laws.

    So where the hell did that money go??

  8. Harry Greek says:

    Texans, sueing,… over environmental harm??

    Since when did Texan start caring about stuff only liberal sissies cry bloody murder about??

  9. Costner says:

    By all means the state has every right to fine the bejeezus out of BP for polluting, but am I honestly expected to believe these 53,800 people are all able to directly associate any health issues they might be suffering from to this incident?

    Get real. The only people who will profit from this are the lawyers who are going to be seeking class action status. This whole think smells of a late night TV commercial where a “non layer spokesperson” tells you that you are entitled to compensation if you lived in or around the are impacted by this disaster.

    Frickin’ jackpot justice.

  10. gman863 says:

    Even money the refinery will blow up again before the suit goes to trial.

  11. A.Mercer says:

    I used to live in Galveston which is just across the bay. During the winter time the wind came from the north and blew that junk into town. The strange chemical smell was powerful at times. Our name for Texas City was Toxic City. There was an environmental class at A&M Galveston. Some of my friends were marine biology majors and took that class. They went to the beach to collect samples once. They wore old jeans and boots and gloves. The teacher showed up like he was Heisenberg from Breaking Bad with a safety suit. He did not plan on coming into any contact with the stuff on the beaches over there.

    We had always heard that most of Texas City was grandfathered when it came to environmental laws. Not sure if that is true or not but that is what we had heard.

  12. TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

    As the saying goes……..don’t move next to an airport then complain about the noise…

  13. pythonspam says:

    You know its really bad if they violated [Texas]’s air quality laws.