ExxonMobil to pay civil penalty and take remedial measures to resolve Clean Air Act violations stemming from deadly fire at Texas refinery

Beaumont STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER / Guiseppe Barranco/The Enterprise
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement with ExxonMobil Oil Corporation (ExxonMobil) today to resolve federal Clean Air Act claims arising from a 2013 fire at the company’s oil refinery in Beaumont, Texas that killed two employees and injured ten others.  In a complaint filed today with the settlement, the United States alleges that the company violated Section 112(r) of the Clean Air Act, which requires measures to prevent accidental releases of extremely hazardous substances that can have serious public health and environmental consequences.  The April 17, 2013, fire at the refinery occurred when workers used a torch to remove bolts from the top, or “head,” of a device called a heat exchanger.  The torch ignited hydrocarbons released from the head.  EPA’s inspection following the incident disclosed violations of Section 112(r) and of the regulations known as the Chemical Accident Prevention provisions.  “The deaths...
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CSB releases update on probe into blowout and fire at Pryor Trust gas well in Pittsburg County, OK

    Oklahoma City, OK, August 16, 2018 - Today the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a factual update into its ongoing investigation of the January 22, 2018, blowout and fire at the Pryor Trust Gas Well located in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma, that killed five workers.     The CSB has determined the incident occurred shortly after drilling crew members removed the drill pipe from the well in a process known as “tripping.” To date, the CSB’s investigation has determined the following timeline related to the blowout and fire:   •    January 21, 2018: Crew members from the Patterson-UTI Drilling Company had been drilling a gas well for over a week. Activities were being overseen by the operator of the well, Red Mountain Operating, LLC (or RMO) in Pittsburg County, Oklahoma. •    At 3:36 pm, the Patterson crew stopped drilling to remove the drill pipe from the well and change...
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CSB releases investigative update into catastrophic pressure vessel failure that killed 4

May 25, 2017, St. Louis, MO – The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released a “Factual Investigative Update” on the April 3, 2017, catastrophic rupture of a pressure vessel at the Loy Lange Box Company that killed four people and left another in critical condition.    The CSB’s ongoing examination of the incident has identified a history of leaks in the pressure vessel, which was part of a steam generation system. In 2012, the vessel was repaired when it was discovered that water was leaking from the bottom of its tank. In what was termed an “emergency repair,” a portion of the bottom of the tank was replaced with a custom made center section.    On Friday, March 31, 2017, employees again noticed a leak from the bottom of the vessel. Photos taken by the employees revealed leaks coming from at least two distinct sections of a 6-inch ring of original...
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CSB releases final report into 2016 Nitrous Oxide explosion in Florida

April 20, 2017, Pensacola, FL, -- Today, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) released its final report into the August 28, 2016, nitrous oxide explosion at the Airgas manufacturing facility in Cantonment, Florida. The blast killed the only Airgas employee working at the facility that day and heavily damaged the plant, halting its manufacturing of nitrous oxide indefinitely. The CSB investigation found that federal regulations require some chemical facilities that manufacture hazardous substances to have process safety management systems in place to protect their workforce and the public.  The CSB discovered, however, that a majority of these specialized rules are not required for nitrous oxide facilities.   Chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland said, “Nitrous oxide is a hazardous substance – facilities should have good safety management systems to mitigate the risks that exist.  Safety management systems standards are critical to identify, evaluate, and control process safety hazards. This tragedy in Cantonment should...
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