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BP’s other disaster

Two weeks before the Deepwater Horizon blast, BP had another Gulf disaster. At its Texas City refinery, tens of thousands of pounds of toxic chemicals spewed into the air — and continued to discharge for 40 days. In the end, the refinery emitted 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, according to BP estimates, including carbon monoxide and benzene, a known carcinogen.

A recent investigation by ProPublica and Frontline suggests that this toxic release stemmed from the company’s decision to continue producing and selling gasoline while repairing key pieces of equipment.

ProPublica’s Managing Editor Stephen Engelberg talks with Need to Know’s Alison Stewart about this toxic discharge and the mounting evidence that BP favors production and profit margins over safety and the environment.

Read BP’s statements in response to ProPublica’s coverage of the Texas City disaster here.


  • Christine Klinger

    Thank you “Frontline” and thank you “ProPublica” for this fascinating, vital and scary report. For BP and other such arrogant and negligent corporations – fines are essential, yes, but can’t the federal government shut them down – for safety regulations if nothing else? And if this information isn’t enough to uphold the 6 month moratorium on off shore drilling – what is?!

  • James McColey

    I was a temp worker at AMOCO in Tulsa Okla. AMOCO had in place safety and environmental clean-up procedures. When BP took over they disbanded the Haz-mat crew and eliminated all environ work although the written procedures were left in place for’show’. Safety officers who worked at the AMOCO facilities who obeyed regulations were retired or transferred(,also forced to resign).
    The man in charge of the Alaska pipeline was going to shut down the pipeline for several days or more to repair several leaks and weak spots. BP tried to fire or remove him,but was prevented from by other pressure.
    Drilling procedures should be looked at. BP did not want to stop pulling pipe out of the hole because of time (m0ney ) lost. By contuning to pull pipe while the preventer was closed was shure to damage it. AMOCO knew this from previous happnings. We lost a whole day because a officer sold us to not stop while testing .Had to clean bits of rubber for days.
    Jim McColey
    Tulsa OKLa.

  • Kevin Lord (MongoLord)

    As a lifelong Texan and Fisherman I have to say that going to the Gulf for recreation has gotten very depressing, if not heart wrenching for me in the past 10 years. Trash all over the beach, in the floating seaweed beds, and floating in plastic bags 12 miles out. Oil rigs make it easier to find certain kinds of fish, but they are all over the place. All the chemical companies down here have had accidents that have polluted our waters. They used to dump chemicals right into the waterways before the environmental movement took hold on govt here. We still have VERY LAX laws and monitoring here in TX and our congressmen are clueless, favoring out of control businesses at every turn. None of these giant corporations have our health or well-being at heart.
    BTW, I’m looking for a new home close to an ocean without oil wells in the view. I love Texas, but I can no longer bear watching what we’re allowing to happen to her.

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