Explosion at Texas Petrochemical Plant Leads to $30 Million Fine

PORT NECHES, TX – The Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently took legal action against TPC Group LLC, a Texas-based petrochemical company, in response to a 2019 plant explosion that resulted in significant damage, evacuations, and air pollution in Port Neches. The incident led to the release of over 11 million pounds of hazardous substances and caused more than $130 million in property damage and health impacts.

TPC Group has agreed to pay over $30 million in fines and penalties, in addition to investing approximately $80 million to enhance safety measures at its Port Neches and Houston facilities. The company faced charges of violating the Clean Air Act and failing to comply with chemical accident prevention provisions, which put workers, residents, and the environment at risk.

In the aftermath of the explosions, mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents within a four-mile radius of the facility, while surrounding areas were advised to shelter in place. The company also agreed to a one-year term of probation and public apology, along with implementing air monitors and hosting community meetings to address potential risks associated with its facilities.

The civil complaint against TPC Group included numerous violations at its Port Neches and Houston facilities, highlighting the company’s failure to adhere to safety protocols and address critical issues that led to the explosions. As part of the agreement, TPC Group will no longer use its Port Neches facility for production purposes, focusing instead on storage operations.

The incident resulted in combined on-site and off-site property damage of over $600 million, emphasizing the significant impact of the explosions on the local community. Reports indicated that the blast was felt up to 30 miles away, underscoring the widespread consequences of the safety failures at TPC Group’s facilities.

Moving forward, TPC Group must now prioritize safety measures and regulatory compliance to prevent such catastrophic events from reoccurring. The legal actions taken by the Justice Department and EPA serve as a warning to companies in the petrochemical industry to prioritize safety, environmental protection, and community well-being in their operations.