BP fined another $50 mn for 2005 Texas blast

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British oil firm BP on Thursday was fined another $50 million for violations related to the March 2005 explosion at a Texas refinery that left 15 people dead.

The state of Texas levied the newest of a series of fines in the case against BP Products North America for "unlawfully emitting pollutants" during, and for several years after, the explosion at its refinery in Texas City, near Galveston.

"The proposed agreement reflects the state's commitment to protecting air quality and holding polluters accountable for illegal emissions," said Texas attorney general Greg Abbott in a statement.

BP has already been fined well over $100 million in civil and criminal penalties at the state and federal level for safety, environmental and other violations related to the refinery's operation and the explosion in the past four years.

In addition, according to reports the company has paid some $2 billion to settle other legal and injury claims related to the explosion.

In a statement BP said it "is pleased to have reached this agreement with the Texas Attorney General, representing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, concerning the companys Texas City refinery."

"BP has maintained a steady focus on improving safety and compliance at Texas City, and this agreement is an important milestone in the progress of operations at the facility."

Earlier this year BP announced it was seeking to sell the refinery before the end of 2012, while retaining its nearby Texas City Chemicals complex.

© 2011 AFP

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