EPA joins probes into benzene release at BP Texas City refinery

Nick Snow
OGJ Washington Editor

WASHINGTON, DC, Sept. 17 -- The US Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation of a possible benzene release at BP America Inc.’s Texas City refinery, joining other government investigations of the Apr. 6 incident. The Sept. 16 action commences another set of procedures that will help other federal and state regulators, according to Al Armendariz, EPA regional administrator, in Dallas.

He said as a first step, EPA will require the BP PLC subsidiary to disclose specific information regarding its operations during the incident within 30 days. It issued a request under the federal Clean Air Act’s authority for all information regarding the incident, which began on Apr. 6 and ended on May 16.

The incident resulted in the flaring of chemicals which could have resulted in a catastrophic release of benzene, a hazardous air pollutant, EPA said. It said that it will also examine the promptness of BP’s investigation following the incident, and whether it resulted in possible or actual harm.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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