Five weeks into the oil leak caused by an explosion at a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and a number of unsuccessful attempts at plugging the holes in the pipework later, BP’s latest solution, ‘top kill’, has managed to stop the flow of oil and natural gas.
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Following the decision to make safety a number one priority, oil company BP are the subject of much speculation about whether this means the end of their investment in green technology and renewables.
Following a violation of the Clean Air Act, BP Products North America, a subsidiary of BP, have agreed to pay a settlement figure totaling nearly $180 million (£125 million).
The United States Department of Justice has promised to “aggressively pursue” companies who breach the environmental laws, saying that those who do will be held accountable for the violation. The proposed settlement will be considered for final court approval following the 30 day period for public comments on the matter to be received.
BP has been responsible for a number of breaches of the Clean Air Act on their Texas site, such as failure to address cooling appliances leaking HCFCs (harmful ozone-depleting chemicals) into the atmosphere and inappropriate handling of benzene and waste-products containing benzene on their site.
Part of the settlement will require upgrading of equipment and work to help reduce the air pollution these breaches have contributed to. BP Products North America will also be working on improving their process for the disposal of asbestos material when renovation and demolition work takes place on the Texas site.
In addition to resolving their own environmental faux pas, BP will be investing money in converting a number of vehicles including school buses, and installing petrol stations to supply them with the natural gas based fuels they will run on to help reduce air pollution in Texas.