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DALLAS – (July 26, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Justice have entered into a Stipulation of Settlement with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Company (Dupont) to address alleged chemical accident prevention violations at its former La Porte, Texas chemical manufacturing facility. DuPont will pay a $3.1 million civil penalty.

“Accidental releases of methyl mercaptan can be extremely dangerous,” said EPA Region 6 Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Director Cheryl Seager. “This settlement ensures the rule of law is being followed by Dupont and emphasizes the importance of implementing risk management programs to protect our communities and our workers.”

On November 15, 2014, an incident occurred and nearly 24,000 pounds of methyl mercaptan were released within the Lannate® unit at its La Porte, Texas facility.  Methyl mercaptan is a highly toxic, highly flammable chemical that can cause asphyxiation.  The release resulted in the deaths of four persons inside the Lannate® manufacturing building.  The four DuPont employees died from a combination of asphyxia and acute exposure to methyl mercaptan. 

EPA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Chemical Safety Board all conducted inspections or investigations after the incident.  The Lannate® unit was shut down after the incident.  The Chemical Safety Board issued Interim Recommendations from its investigation on September 30, 2015.  In March of 2016, DuPont announced that it was closing the facility.

The Chemical Accident Prevention Regulations are intended to prevent accidental releases of substances that can cause serious harm to the public and the environment from short-term exposures and to mitigate the severity of releases that occur.  These regulations require certain facilities to develop and implement a risk management program. 

The Complaint alleges 22 separate violations of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program at DuPont’s former La Porte, Texas facility.  The violations alleged in the Complaint include: 

  • failure to develop and implement written operating procedures
  • failure to adequately implement management of change procedures
  • failure to implement safe work practices
  • mechanical integrity violations

No injunctive relief was required, since the facility is no longer in operation.  The Complaint and Stipulation of Settlement was filed on Monday, July 23, 2018 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas.

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