BP Operations in Two States Scrutinized

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BP Operations in Two States Scrutinized

LONDON -- The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it will fine BP Plc $92,000 for faults after a fatal blast at the company's Texas City refinery in 2005, BBC News reported.

At the time, the explosion and fire killed 15 and injured 180 employees.

Citations from post-blast monitoring include a violation that OSHA said may have lead to another major accident. The company has two weeks to contest the penalties and citations, the report stated.

A BP spokesman told BBC News the company was studying the allegations before deciding how to proceed, but added that many of the points made were already being addressed.

BP is already under investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) and U.S. Justice Department over the accident. In addition, an internal report released in May found that BP executives should be penalized for failing to prevent a fatal blast.

The CSB cited lax safety culture at BP, as well as cost-cutting, a bad management culture and worker fatigue.

In other BP news, the company is facing pressure in Illinois after a new dumping plan that would increase the amount of ammonia and sludge it deposits into Lake Michigan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

State and local lawmakers are hoping the company will back out of the plan, and are circulating petitions objecting the proposal to residents.

Indiana exempted BP from state environmental laws, to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion of its oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., according to the report. According to the plans, the refinery will be permitted to release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan daily, the report stated. However, BP said it will still meet federal guidelines for pollution.

Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Rahm Emanuel were petitioning at the lake’s shore over the weekend, in hopes to gather the signatures to send to Indiana's governor, asking him to reconsider the decision to allow BP to move ahead on its plans, the report stated.

"I was one of the people to say, 'This is a different kind of oil company,' " Durbin said at a news conference at Foster Beach, part of the weekend petition drive. "I don't understand what they're thinking. They've gone beyond reason. They can't be the greenest oil company in America and dump into Lake Michigan."

The two lawmakers sent a letter to the company's president on Friday, asking him to meet with them in Washington to discuss the proposal. They are also asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to clarify its role in approving the permit issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, which allows BP to increase its dumping into the lake.

A spokesman for BP told the Tribune the company followed all of the proper rules and guidelines and shouldn't be held to a different standard.

"This company is investing more than $8 billion in alternative energy, looking at everything from solar to wind to hydrogen," spokesman Scott Dean told the paper. "But we're also in the business of providing consumers with heat, light and mobility. This project is designed to provide more gasoline to Chicago and the Midwest market."