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Workers at BP’s Texas City refinery and residents of Texas City have recently filed putative class action lawsuit against the oil giant seeking over $10 billion in damages.

The lawsuit alleges that BP continued to operate the faulty facility while tons of carcinogens were released over a 40 day period earlier this year.

The suit claims that during this 40 day period a total of 538,000 pounds of toxic chemicals, including 17,000 pounds of known carcinogen benzene, were released into the environment. Naturally the workers in the plant and residents living in nearby communities are most likely to be affected by the release.

News of the lawsuit comes only a few short weeks after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality asked the Texas attorney general to launch a probe into the release.

It has been a rough year for BP. The British-based oil oil is facing thousands of lawsuits and damage claims resulting from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is now facing another multi-billion dollar lawsuit over this release.

As residents of Texas City know all too well, this is not the first time the Texas City plant has had problems. In 2005 a massive explosion at the plant killed 15 people and left another 170 injured. A separate pending lawsuit outlines 46 separate emission events, flare-ups and fires involving the Texas city plant between 2005 and 2008.

Needless to say the track record at the Texas City facility has not been great for BP over the past several years, and plaintiffs have accused the company of demonstrating a pattern of poor performance.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court’s Southern District of Texas under name Fontenot v BP Products North America Inc. The suit is seeking class certification.

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