As if the negative publicity from the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill wasn’t bad enough, British Petroleum (BP) is being sued by residents in Texas because of dangerous chemicals leaking from a refinery in Texas City, A Houston area suburb just north of the historic resort city of Galveston. Apparently, benzene has been leaking from the refinery, sickening some people such as the workers at the plant. Lawyer Tony Buzbee is leading the legal action against the company after having filed a $10 lawsuit early this month after residents claimed 538,000 of benzene leaked from the plant. People in and around Texas City as ell as the workers would be the benefactors of the lawsuit.
Benzene, a colorless or yellow liquid that evaporates quickly, is dangerous because it can lead to decreased bone marrow, decreased red blood cell count, anemia and menstrual problems in women. It can cause drowsiness confusion, unconsciousness and even death at high levels and is typically found in tobacco smoke and at gas stations. It can also cause conditions such as vomiting, irritation of the stomach, dizziness, sleepiness, rapid irregular heartbeat and death if it drank or eaten by a person in foods which are contaminated with it. Needless to say, it is nothing anyone should flail their hands at.
With this in mind, it’s clear to see why this was such a big deal to the residents of Galveston County, which Texas City is a part of. It’s an outrage that a company, which already was lit in controversy over the BP refinery explosion of 2007 let alone the international story of the disaster in the Gulf. BP has simply got to become more strict on safety procedures. It’s easier said than done and not hard for anyone not implementing the procedures to say but at the same time people’s health is at stake and BP has a horrible tract record of protecting it’s plants.
And personally, given that I’m just up the road in the town of League City, it affects me and the air of the one I love breathe. That’s why BP has to step up-if it needs to, fire some personnel and hire some better ones-and make sure it’s safety record improves greatly. Otherwise, people need to begin to boycott the company. One can only imagine if they were in charge of nuclear power.
Without a doubt, especially when considering the much larger controversy of the Deep Water Horizon Spill, BP will likely make sweeping changes to ensure that communities can trust that they are a safe operation. They have even produced commercials to try to and gain the trust of people. But it will take more than talk to ever gain the trust of people in my community, surrounding communities and people in general that BP is a competent, trustworthy operation. Otherwise, it’s possible that the company could go out of business or become highly irrelevant.