Thursday, June 04, 2009

Texas finally takes the gloves off with a lawsuit against a repeat polluter

Well, this is a surprise.

The Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, filed a lawsuit today against BP for repeated pollution violations.

We are surprised since a majority of the big plants here in the Petrochemical Underarm commit repeat violations and AG Abbott (pictured) doesn't go to court against them.

The Texas Commission on Environment Quality handles that stuff, usually via an "agreed order" in which the state and the polluter agree on a fine and certain changes that are to be made at the offending facility.

The commission says it tries to "work with" polluters to clean up their plant operations while critics say the commission could be a whole lot more aggressive. (We agree with the critics, based on our years of blogging about this stuff, which, frankly, never elicits much reaction from our readership.)

Does this lawsuit signal a sea change in the attorney general's approach to environmental outlaws?

Don't know.

Is Abbott doing this cause he's gonna run for higher office and wants to burnish his green credentials?

Don't know.

We do know, however, that BP ran a slipshod operation for years at its Texas City plant and that 15 workers were killed and 170 injured in an explosion that didn't have to happen if BP had been running a decent refinery.

That was four years ago.

It's a shame it takes such a tragedy for public officials and the public to realize how some of these places are run.

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