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U.S. reaches $3.1 million settlement with Dupont over 2014 chemical accident

Staff Writer |
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Justice Department have entered a $3.1 million settlement with E.I. Du Pont de Nemours and Co over a 2014 chemical accident at the company’s former La Porte, Texas, plant that killed four employees, the EPA said.

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The EPA said the agencies cited 22 violation of the Clean Air Act’s Risk Management Program in a complaint against Dupont, which merged with the Dow Chemical Co last year to form DowDupont Inc.

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.

No injunctive relief was required, since the facility is no longer in operation.

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