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BP sued over massive release of pollutants in Texas

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BP suedWith the world focused on a BP rig explosion in the spring of 2010 that caused the worst oil spill in U.S. history, a massive release of pollutants from the company’s Texas City refinery went largely unnoticed.

The April 20, 2010, explosion of the Deep­water Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico came two weeks after the BP refinery began releasing pollutants into the air through a 300-foot flare that is designed to burn them away. BP reported at least 538,000 pounds of gases, including 17,371 pounds of cancer-causing benzene, spewed from the flare over 40 days.

It was the third-largest release of benzene in Texas from 2009-11, according to a report released last week by the advocacy group Environmental Integrity Project.

“Even if you accept on the surface what BP claims what the release was, it was a major release,” said Matthew Tejada, executive director of the environmental group Air Alliance Houston.

More than two years later, internal BP emails and statements in depositions for a $500 billion lawsuit indicate BP ignored repeated requests for money to fix a compressor that failed, causing the chemical release.

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