AUSTIN, Texas — The company that owns the Deer Park tank farm where the chemical fire ignited is now facing legal trouble.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted today, "Polluters will be punished." The State of Texas is now suing International Terminals Company.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an environmental lawsuit against Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) Friday afternoon.
The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief and civil penalties in connection with the chemical tank fires that began last Sunday.
The fires released air pollution which is in violation of the Texas Clean Air Act, the lawsuit says.
Paxton's office said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).
“The state of Texas works hard to maintain good air quality and will hold ITC accountable for the damage it has done to our environment,” Paxton said. “ITC has a history of environmental violations, and this latest incident is especially disturbing and frightening. No company can be allowed to disrupt lives and put public health and safety at risk.”
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality also chimed in Friday, saying, "We are exploring every legal avenue to hold the company accountable."
“Due to the dynamic, ongoing investigation of this incident, only air quality violations have been cited in the state of Texas lawsuit against ITC, LLC," TCEQ Executive Director Toby Baker said in a statement. "Any additional violations, including surface water quality, will be referred to the Office of Attorney General for civil enforcement as part of this action.”
However, there is still a lot we don't know about Friday's flare up that happened out at the tank farm. The City of Deer Park tweeted ITC confirmed multiple tanks were on fire Friday afternoon. They were all on the west side of the site, but we still don't know what caused the re-ignition.
ITC has been working on transferring the remaining chemicals out of one of the tanks that's top was exposed. Until that's complete, emergency officials told KHOU there's the possibility of more flare ups.
The federal Chemical Safety Board is also investigating the ITC fire.
“The state of Texas works hard to maintain good air quality and will hold ITC accountable for the damage it has done to our environment,” Paxton said.
ITC plans to hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Saturday where they're expected to provide more information.
View a copy of the lawsuit here.
Chemical release leads to shelter-in-place near ITC in Deer Park after dike wall partially collapses