BP to pay Texas $50 million for refinery pollution

November 3, 2011 - 12:15 PM

HOUSTON (AP) — Oil giant 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 between 2005 and now, 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.

BP did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The settlement's announcement comes as BP struggles to resolve issues surrounding 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.

Abbott said the settlement set a record in Texas.

"There are rules that must be followed and if you violate those rules there will be consequences," Abbott said. "They exposed Houstonians ... to poor air quality and now they're paying the price for it."

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Associated Press writer Juan A. Lozano contributed to this report.

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