BP Fined $50 Million For 2005 Texas Refinery Explosion

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced that BP Products North America Inc. will pay a full penalty of $50.6 million for safety violations resulting in the 2005 explosion at its Texas City, Texas, refinery.

The incident killed 15 workers and injured 170 others, and BP has agreed to take immediate steps to protect those now working at the refinery, allocating a minimum of $500 million to that effort.

This penalty is the highest fine ever issued by OSHA and paid by an employer.

“This agreement achieves our goal of protecting workers at the refinery and ensuring that critical safety upgrades are made as quickly as possible,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “The size of the penalty rightly reflects BP’s disregard for workplace safety and shows that we will enforce the law so workers can return home safe at the end of their day.”

Unfortunately, this harsh criticism comes too late to save the 11 workers who perished in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion, and the thousands of Gulf Coast residents who are now suffering the environmental consequences of BP’s quest for more oil.

Among the provisions of this latest penalty is BP’s agreement to establish a liaison between its North American and London boards of directors and OSHA, which will allow the agency to raise compliance problems at the highest level.

Combined with the $20 billion escrow fund that BP has set aside for victims of the crisis in the Gulf, one can’t help but wonder how these hefty fines will affect the corporation in the future.

As authorities dig deeper into BP’s safety record, it’s becoming harder to imagine that people will want to tie their financial futures to Big Oil’s sinking ship. According to Earth and Industry, the majority of Americans say they won’t invest in oil in the future.

With a dwindling supply of crude oil and a lack of financial backing, economics and not the environment might be the catalyst needed to bring renewable energy to the forefront.


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Image Credit: US Chemical Safety Board

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Juan Pablo de la Torre

$50 Million is too low.

Angela Bibiane N.
Angela N.5 years ago

Yes, they must investigate.

50 million?
Not enough, in my humble opinion.

Lloyd H.5 years ago

Thanks, but you forgot to mention that BP is fighting another 80 Million dollar fine on the same plant for complete failure to meet any of the safty standards after the plant reopened.

Martin F.
Martin Field5 years ago

Not a mention of these directors being sentenced to jail - they just shield themselves with mountains of cash. I also think the government is equally to blame for not pursuing jail time for these criminals.

Jennifer Blan
Jennifer M.5 years ago

Unfortunately that is not enough to justify what they did. They MURDERED all those people because of their negligence. I sure hope people start to realize this is a real threat, not only to humans, but to the planet as well.

.5 years ago

BP stands for Burning People

Alexandra B.
Alexandra B.5 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Mary Ann C.
Mary Ann Coute5 years ago

All I can say is,"GOOOO GREEEEN!!"

SK O.5 years ago

50 mil is not nearly enough, as they'll shrug it off, then go on to a new area where they can cut more corners, and harm both humans and animals alike.

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson5 years ago

ORCOO (www.orcoo.org -- OurRealCostOfOil -- a HoustonTX group) is holding a FUNERAL & MEMORIAL SERVICE for the GULF OF MEXICO this THURSDAY, 19AUG, 4-5pm (Funeral procession from City Hall to Chevron/Transco/Exxon/Shell,etc., dwntown) 5-6pm Memorial Service at City Hall. Y'all Come!