Deadly Fire At Crosby Chemical Plant Raises Legal And Safety Questions
HARRIS COUNTY – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed a petition against KMCO alleging violations of the Clean Air Act, but KMCO’s legal issues don’t end there.
Last Tuesday’s explosion at a KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, Texas killed one and injured two.
Separate from Tuesday’s explosion and fire, KMCO is currently in violation of the Clean Water Act, and has had a host of other recent offenses, including violations of the Clean Air Act and a hazardous waste statute, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Tracey Hester of the University of Houston Law Center said that a facility’s record plays into the potential liability it may face in the wake of a disaster.“Just speaking generally, absolutely — a facility that has a record of prior violations, particularly the same kind of violations, escalates its legal exposure,” Hester said. “At the very least, most statutes provide that repeat violations have bigger potential penalties associated with them.”
Facilities with a history of violations have a harder time renewing the permits they need to operate and must face more inspections from regulators, according to Hester. That history could also play into potential criminal charges against decision-makers at KMCO.
“At the end of the day, it is very clearly — on both the federal and state levels — a major factor in deciding whether to bring a criminal action,” Hester said.