Arkema indicted for toxic emissions

CROSBY – Arkema has been indicted for Emission of Air Contamination under the Texas Water Code. It carries with it a penalty of up to 5 years in jail and/or $1 Million fine.

A Harris County grand jury on Friday indicted the French chemical company Arkema North America in connection with the release of toxic chemicals during a fire after the Crosby plant was flooded during Hurricane Harvey last August.

Richard Rowe, CEO, and plant manager Leslie Comardelle made their initial court showing Monday on criminal charges. Allegedly, they had felony “reckless emissions” of chemicals into the air and water, putting residents and first responders at risk in the days after Harvey dumped 51 inches of rain on the Houston area, according to the Harris County District Attorney’s office. Bond for each man has been set at $20,000. Arraignment should be in October.

Findings are related to discoveries in September of 2016 FM Global Engineering warned of flooding hazards and other insurance risks. Also, the US Chemical Safety Board last May found that Arkema failed to consider how flooding events might impact safety systems.

Lawsuits related to the releases contend that the chemical releases contaminated the air and water causing residents respiratory problems, pneumonia, headaches, nausea and dizziness continuing to plague the first responders outside the plant when trailers were allowed to blow up and neighbors of the plant.