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Pollution charges filed against Intercontinental Terminals Company after Houston fire in March

PortandTerminal.com, May 2, 2019

Water pollution charges have been filed against International Terminals Company (ITC), the owner of the Houston-area petrochemical storage facility that burned for days in March causing chemicals to flow into a nearby waterway.

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office announced it filed five environmental misdemeanor charges against Intercontinental Terminals Company.

Oil gathered in boom at the confluence of Tucker Bayou and the Houston Ship Channel, downstream of ITC. (Source: EPA)

Prosecutors allege that following the March 17 fire, a dam at the facility broke, sending large quantities of toxic chemicals, including xylene and benzene, into nearby Tucker Bayou, which flows into Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, said Tom Berg, first assistant district attorney for Harris County.

This company (ITC), in particular, has had a history of environmental violations. So we’re not inclined to look the other way.”

“We support the petrochemical industry. It’s the lifeblood of the Houston area, and by and large, our corporate, industrial friends are responsible,” Berg said. “They take great care in safety and environmental concerns. But when they’re failures, those folks need to be held accountable and this company, in particular, has had a history of environmental violations. So we’re not inclined to look the other way.”

If convicted, ITC could be fined up to $100,000 for each charge. Berg said the investigation is ongoing and additional charges could be filed.

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