Houston, TX: BP is facing a lawsuit brought by residents of Texas who allege that one of the company's oil refineries located in Texas City released 500,000 pounds of chemicals, including some 17,000 pounds of the carcinogen benzene, into the air between April 6 and May 16. The leak resulted from a malfunction in the hydrocracking unit called an ultracracker.
The incident happened just before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which killed 11 people.
The Texas City refinery incident reportedly spewed chemicals into the atmosphere for 40 days without public discloser. People who live in the surrounding areas are reporting illness.
This is not the first significant indicent at the plant. In 2005 it was the site of a deadly explosion that killed 15 people.
The lawsuit is seeking $10 billion in punitive damages from BP Plc .