Texas City Refinery Leak: BP Faces $10 Billion Lawsuit for Toxic Gas Leak

08/30/2010 // WPB, FL, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

Texas City, TX– BP’s problems are about to get a whole lot worse. BP is now facing a $10 billion class-action lawsuit and another $600,000 lawsuit over the release of massive amounts of toxic chemicals into the air, which has left residents with respiratory problems, as reported by The New York Times.

The release of 538,000 pounds toxic chemicals from the refinery seemingly went unnoticed until many residents saw respiratory problems arising in their children. For 40 days, toxic chemicals like carcinogen benzene, poured from the Texas City refinery.

According to the final report, the leak last for 959 hours, or from April 7 to May 16, which released 17,000 pounds of benzene, 37,000 pounds of nitrogen oxides, 186,000 pounds of carbon monoxide and other 262,000 pounds of various volatile organic compounds.

The trouble reportedly began when a fire broke out on the seal of a hydrogen compressor, which is used to trap noxious chemicals before returning them to be used as fuel in other parts of the refinery. The engineers at the refinery decided against making the repairs; and instead they diverted the gases to a smokestack, where they tried to burn the chemicals off. But hundreds of thousands of pounds of noxious chemicals were released into the air.

The Texas City residents claimed they have experienced respiratory problems this spring. Even environmentalists stated that the release of toxic gases is one of the largest in Texas’ history. Now Texas City residents have joined in on the $10 billion class-action lawsuit filed against BP. Greg Abbott, the state attorney general, has also sued BP, which is seeking fines in upwards of $600,000.

The residents claim that neither the state nor BP alerted the neighbors of the refinery or local officials about the leak until two weeks following the end of the leak. But BP claims that there are three air monitors along the fence that encloses the plant, and two additional monitors in the surrounding community. BP claims that the monitors did not reveal a rise in pollution in April and May.

BP spokesperson Michael Marr said, ”BP dose not believe there is any basis to pay claims in connection with this event.”

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for Texas personal injury lawyers.

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