Shell to pay $350 000 fine to settle EPA explosion suit

07 December 2001 22:05  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (CNI)--Shell Chemical will pay a $350 000 (Euro393 200) fine to settle a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lawsuit stemming from an explosion and fire four years ago at the company's Deer Park, Texas facility, the EPA said Friday.

Shell Chemical officials did not return telephone calls seeking comment.

The incident on 22 June 1997 caused extensive damage to the facility and injured several workers. An EPA/Shell investigation later showed the explosion and fire were caused by a check valve failure which released flammable gas.

Said EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke: "Plant owners and operators have a general duty to anticipate, prevent and minimise the effects of accidental releases whenever extremely hazardous substances are present. I hope Shell's experience will serve as a reminder that there is no substitute for safety."

Shell has modified, decommissioned or replaced the valves with a safer design, the EPA said. The company has also implemented procedures to track problems with equipment from its plants.

By: Mike Sheridan
+1 713 525 2653

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