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Texas Chemical Plant Sued For Millions, First Responders Charge Gross Negligence

Posted on September 9th, 2017 at 11:36 by John Sinteur in category: News -- Write a comment


Seven first responders filed a lawsuit Thursday against a chemical company whose Houston-area facility exploded after Hurricane Harvey. The lawsuit against Arkema and three of the company’s executives is seeking over $1 million in monetary relief, and alleges that the company did not adequately warn law enforcement and public health agencies about hazardous materials at the chemical plant. Those allegations come after Arkema and its lobbying group, the American Chemistry Council, lobbied to kill a federal rule designed to require companies to better coordinate and inform first responders about the toxic compounds at chemical plants. The rule would have taken effect in March.

The EPA’s rule, which included a series of other safety provisions, was ultimately delayed to February 2019 by the Trump administration, with the support of top Texas Republican lawmakers – many of whom received large campaign donations from the chemical industry.

The suit filed in Harris County court asserts that after explosions at the Arkema’s Crosby plant emitted a cloud of gas, company officials “repeatedly denied that the chemicals were toxic or harmful in any manner to the people, and first responders, in the community”. Yet, the complaint says the fumes sickened the first responders, and charges Arkema with “gross negligence” and “malice”.

“Immediately upon being exposed to the fumes from the explosion, and one by one, the police officers and first responders began to fall ill in the middle of the road”, says the lawsuit, which was filed by members of local agencies including law enforcement and the fire department. “Calls for medics were made, but still no one from Arkema warned of the toxic fumes in the air. Emergency medical personnel arrived on scene, and even before exiting their vehicle, they became overcome by the fumes as well. The scene was nothing less than chaos. Police officers were doubled over vomiting, unable to breathe. Medical personnel, in their attempts to provide assistance to the officers, became overwhelmed and they too began to vomit and gasp for air”.

In a statement, Arkema said its employees did “everything they could to protect the public.”

There’s a part missing in that sentence. I think the Arkema rep must have mumbled “as long as it doesn’t cost us money” in a way the reporter failed to hear.

  1. Well. Suing arkema is a must. Gross negligence. But will someone please tell these folks they gotta sue the state of Texas too. It’s only fair.

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