Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has charged BP Products North America, Inc. with violating state health, safety and environmental protection laws, including the Texas Clean Air Act, the Texas Water Code, and the Texas Health & Safety Code. The state’s 97-page enforcement action cites 46 separate unlawful pollutant emissions at BP’s Texas City refinery–including the emission linked to the March 2005 explosion that killed 15 workers and injured 170.
“BP Products is charged with polluting our environment, concealing information from authorities and harming Texans,” Attorney General Abbott said. “In recent years, more than 45 unlawful pollutant emissions occurred at BP’s Texas City facility. This enforcement action holds BP accountable for failing to comply with environmental, health and safety laws that are intended to protect Texans from harm.”
Court documents filed by the state indicate that BP’s Texas City refinery caused hundreds of thousands of pounds of unauthorized pollutant emissions. The Attorney General’s enforcement action cites a “pattern of unnecessary and unlawful emissions”–which led the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to file 15 enforcement orders against BP between 2000 and 2007. Among the improperly released air pollutants were volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
According to the state’s enforcement action, the unlawful emissions stemmed from poor operational practices and inadequate maintenance at BP’s Texas City refinery. Court documents indicate the defendant’s conduct jeopardized its employees’ safety–as well as “human health.”
Under Texas law, BP was required to report unlawful emissions to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and take corrective action to prevent future emissions. However, BP not only failed to report emissions to environmental regulators within the legally mandated deadlines–but also did not take the necessary measures to prevent additional unlawful emissions in a timely manner.
On March 23, 2005, an explosion at BP’s Texas City facility killed fifteen people and injured 170 workers. That explosion led to the unlawful release of contaminants for more than 160 hours. An investigation by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality found that the event was “avoidable” and stemmed from the defendant’s “poor operations practices.” The 2005 explosion was one of the 46 incidents cited in the Attorney General’s enforcement action.
BP’s Texas City refinery produces gasoline, distillates, fuel oil, sulfuric acid, petroleum coke and petrochemical feedstocks.
The state is seeking an injunction requiring the company to implement all necessary measures to eliminate future unlawful emissions. The enforcement action seeks to require that BP install additional air quality monitors that will ensure future compliance with emissions restrictions. The state is also seeking civil penalties, fines and attorneys’ fees.
A hearing on the state’s application for temporary injunction is scheduled for June 29 at 9 a.m. in a Travis County District Court.
Several months ago, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was the toast of the Republican Party. He was invited to speak at events across the nation and was given the prime spot on national television delivering the party’s official response to the President’s State of the Union message.
Jindal’s GOP speech was a bomb and he was widely panned for his delivery and mannerisms. In fact, it was so bad that people did not think of Jindal as presidential material, but compared him to the comical character “Kenneth” from the show 30 Rock.
The speech exposed Jindal’s flaws to the nation. He is not a very impressive speaker and tries to cram in to his speeches too many facts and anecdotes. He does not convey passion, only statistics and figures. He is too young, does not have enough experience and does not have the requisite communication abilities.
Of course, Jindal is a remarkable individual and very well educated. He has accomplished a tremendous amount for a 37-year old man. Eventually, he may have a good track record in Louisiana and be able to seek higher office. At this point, it is too early to tell how Jindal will do as Governor. The jury is still out, so talk of a presidential run is ludicrous at this point.
So, in the latest CNN GOP presidential poll it is no surprise that Jindal is nowhere to be seen. After showing well in presidential polls several months ago, Jindal does not even register in this latest survey. Leading the pack are former Governors Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin with approximately 20 percent support each. The three leaders are followed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Other candidates looking at the race include South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.
You are cordially invited to attend a Hurricane Preparedness- Education Town Hall hosted by
Fort Bend Citizens for Action and Awareness and in partnership with The Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management, and CenterPoint Energy. The purpose of the town hall is to educate citizens on hurricane season and provide helpful tips on hurricane preparedness. There will be presentations and discussions on the role of the Fort Bend OEM, power restoration efforts by CenterPoint Energy, and weather phenomena by FOX 26 News meteorologist, Mike Iscovitz.
Details of the time and location of the event are below:
What: Hurricane Preparedness Education Town Hall
When: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 6:30- 8:30 p.m.
Where: M. R. Massey Building FB MUD #23 1570 Rabb Road Fresno, Texas 77545 (Teal Run Subdivision)
For more information on the Hurricane Preparedness – Education Town Hall, please contact:
Fort Bend Citizens for Action and Awareness (FBCAA) www.fbcaanow.org
Questions can be directed to email@example.com
The case is almost inconceivable: Austin police have charged a 23-year-old mother with repeatedly feeding her 3-year-old daughter her own waste. Emily Beth McDonald is free on bond after a surveillance camera at Dell Children’s Medical Center caught her placing waste from her daughter’s diaper in her feeding tube Sunday. The girl’s been hospitalized for serious infections caused by bacteria found in feces. McDonald faces up to life in prison if convicted.
A house fire in northeast Houston is now being investigated as a possible homicide.
Houston firefighters were called to a home at Manitou and McCarty about 11 p.m. Wednesday.
Once the fire was put out, firefighters found a victim inside. They say the body was burned so badly they could not tell if it was male or female.
Investigators had reason to believe the fire was intentionally set.
“They talked to a couple witnesses, and we went ahead and called HPD out here,” said HFD Dep. Chief Herman Gonzalez. “Part of this is suspicious.”
Investigators say it may take some time to identify the victim.
A North Carolina man is accused of arranging to have his wife raped through personal ads on the Web site Craigslist, police said Wednesday.
The 25-year-old man, of Kannapolis, North Carolina, was arrested in connection with the incident that occurred at his home early Sunday, police said in a statement.
Police responded to the home at about 2:45 a.m. after receiving a 911 call indicating a male armed with a knife appeared in the couple’s bedroom and sexually assaulted the man’s wife, authorities said.
The man was present at the time of the assault, and two young children were in the home, but were unharmed and unaware of the incident, the police statement said.
“During the investigation, investigators interviewed the victim and her husband,” the statement said. “Investigators became suspicious when they noticed there was no sign of forced entry to the home. Investigators also developed information that led them to note specific inconsistencies in the initial statement provided by [the man].”
But on Tuesday, police found that the man “had responded to at least two personal ads on Craigslist.com in an effort to arrange for someone to come to his home and have sex with his wife using some type of scare tactic.”
“Investigators believe [he] arranged this incident without the knowledge or consent of the victim,” the police statement said.
The woman was taken to a hospital after the assault, where she underwent a forensic examination and was interviewed, police said. She suffered no serious physical injuries and was released shortly afterward.
Police did not release the identity of the victim. CNN is not naming the victim’s husband in an effort to avoid identifying her. The incident remains under investigation, police said.
The man faces charges including first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree sexual offense and one count of attempted first-degree sexual offense, according to the police statement.
Kannapolis is about 26 miles northeast of Charlotte, North Carolina.
That was the description of U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent at a hearing Wednesday before a House Judiciary Committee task force considering his possible impeachment. The stunned hearing room was silent as two victims of Kent’s sexual misconduct detailed their personal ordeals that lasted years.
The Texas judge pleaded guilty in February to one count of obstruction of justice for lying to investigators about the sexual misconduct in his Galveston, Texas, courthouse. It was the first case of sexual abuse against a sitting federal judge.
Though he acknowledged in his plea that the events had occurred, the charges covering the sexual misconduct itself were dropped as part of the plea agreement. He had previously insisted the sexual events were consensual.
Kent, who turns 60 this month, was sentenced in May to 33 months in prison and ordered to surrender on June 15. He also was ordered to undergo treatment for alcoholism while in prison.
Both Kent and his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, declined to appear at Wednesday’s hearing. A statement from Kent accepted in the record said he was unable to travel to the hearing due to physical and mental problems. In the statement he admitted to nonconsensual sexual contact with the two woman, which he said may have resulted from difficulties in dealing with the death of his first wife and other issues.
“Judge Kent and I refuse to be part of the circus,” DeGuerin said in the statement, sent by e-mail, calling the hearing an unnecessary spectacle. “All sexual misconduct allegations against Judge Kent were dismissed in court. The highly exaggerated, yet salacious and scandalous testimony of his former personal secretary and his former case manager is irrelevant to the grounds for impeachment and served no purpose other than to allow a few politicians to posture publicly.”
If impeached, Kent would lose his judicial salary and pension. His letter to the task force noted that would leave him “penniless” and without health insurance. Kent also submitted a letter Tuesday to President Obama in which he said he will resign as of June 1, 2010, effectively extending his salary for a year that he is scheduled to spend in prison.
Committee members expressed outrage over Kent’s request.
“Judge Kent and his lawyer are banking on the fact that impeachments take time, literally,” said Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas. “Judge Kent receives $465 of his taxpayer-funded salary every day he remains in office. We are here today to put an end to Judge Kent’s abuse of authority and exploitation of American taxpayers.”
But it was the emotional and sometimes halting testimony of Cathy McBroom and Donna Wilkerson that provided the most powerful evidence. The two Texas women sat side-by-side at the witness table, never smiling, and recounted events that Kent’s guilty plea acknowledged had occurred.