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CITGO Responds to CSB Warnings

HOUSTON -- Following a report by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board that stated CITGO's July explosion at its Corpus Christi, Texas, refinery was a "a significant near-miss," the energy corporation issued a statement saying it was already complying with the board's recommendations.

The July explosion related to a release of highly toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF) into a community, according to a Reuters report.

"It's a significant near-miss of an HF release into the refinery and into the community," said CSB Investigations Supervisor Robert Hall at a Houston news conference cited by Reuters. The board is investigating the cause of and response to the explosion and urged CITGO to develop and implement plans to ensure an adequate water supply to prevent toxic HF vapor releases.

"CITGO … appreciates the thorough, ongoing investigation conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board and has already taken action on the board's recommendations announced today," the company said in a statement. "We hold nothing in higher regard than the safety of our employees and members of the local community."

It went on to state that the company remains committed to fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation.

However, CSB Chairman John Bresland called CITGO's cooperation with the probe "marginal," adding the company has refused document requests and attempted to stop the release of security camera video of the explosion and fire on grounds of national security, according to the report.

In response, CITGO stated: "by raising concerns to CSB's release of the incident videos at this time to the public, we were simply acting in good faith to maintain and preserve the security of our refinery. Moreover, CITGO has provided these videos to all the investigating agencies that requested them."

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