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LyondellBasell in La Porte fined for 5 pollution violations before deadly acid leak

In the last 10 years, it’s been ordered to pay the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at least $237,761 for five pollution violations.

LA PORTE, Texas — The LyondellBasell complex in La Porte doesn’t have any recent worker safety violations, according to Occupational Safety Health Administration records, but it’s been fined many times before for pollution issues.

The site is home to two companies owned by LyondellBassell: LyondellBassell Acetyls and Equistar. Three states – Louisiana, Illinois and Iowa – previously sued the company for widespread pollution issues at its Equistar Plants. In 2007, it was ordered to pay $1.25M and cleanup seven Equistar plants, including the La Porte Complex, according to the EPA.

The company agreed to extra safety measures to minimize, “emissions from the polymer section in a manner consistent with good management practices,” the Consent Decree reads.

Since then, the company has continued to have issues at its La Porte complex. In the last 10 years, it’s been ordered to pay the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality at least $237,761 for five pollution violations.

Just last year, Lyondell was ordered to pay $109,903 by TCEQ for violating the Texas Water Code. It was accused of releasing more chemicals than allowed and not properly testing water for issues.

But the vast majority of the fines stem from issues with poor practices that resulted in excessive vinyl acetate or acetic acid emissions. The fines include:

  • $8,176 in 2018 for again failing to prevent unauthorized emissions. TCEQ said the Clean Air Act violations in the Vinyl Acetate Monomers Unit stemmed from bad maintenance practices.
  • $95,382 in 2014 for improperly monitoring potential acetic acid leakage for more than three years.
  • $7,125 in 2013 for failing to prevent unauthorized emissions. TCEQ said the Clean Air Act violations in the Vinyl Acetate Monomers Unit stemmed from bad maintenance practices.
  • $17,175 in 2011 for an excessive emissions event, again of vinyl acetate monomer.