Lawsuit Filed in Marathon Leak

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Lawsuit Filed in Marathon Leak

T.J. Aulds
Galveston Daily News
June 15, 2013
Texas City, Texas

Marathon Petroleum’s Texas Division refinery is back at full power following a leak that forced the shut down of the refinery last week. That news was greeted by a lawsuit against the company over the leak. Marathon spokeswoman Angelia Graves said that the fluidized catalytic cracking unit where the leak happened restarted Thursday. Crude oil production units at the refinery went back online Monday. At about 2 a.m. June 7, a weld seam gave way on a line on the refinery’s fluidized catalytic cracking unit. Slurry, light cycle oil, heavy cycle oil, gasoline and other components leaked, according to an emissions report filed late Friday with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. The leak was contained about 11 hours later, and the refinery was shut down, company officials said. The cause of the leak is under investigation. The initial report filed with the state by Marathon indicates that the “main column slurry quench line suddenly sheared apart at a weld seam.” The leak also prompted the refinery to increase its flaring, which resulted in several hundred pounds of air emissions, according to state reports. The state report also shows that about 16,000 pounds of gasoline leaked from the unit. In the lawsuit filed Friday, two Tiki Island residents are seeking damages claiming their “boat, house and vehicles have been covered with a tarry brown substance” that couldn’t be removed despite extensive cleaning efforts. Those suing claim as well that Marathon “exacerbated this damage by failing to warn the public about the release.” Those suing are represented by Friendswood attorney Anthony Buzbee. Earlier this week, the city of Tiki Island appears to have sent an email to residents telling them that Marathon had hired a company to take claims for cleaning vehicles, boats and houses. The city had not responded to The Daily News’ request for a copy of the records, but residents of the city provided a copy of the email to the newspaper. The message, sent from the same email address that the city uses for correspondence to The Daily News, encourages residents with claims to contact Global Risk Solutions, a firm apparently hired by Marathon to handle spill claims. The Daily News was unable to reach Marathon officials Friday for comment about the lawsuit Marathon operates two refineries in Texas City — the Texas Refinery division where the leaked occurred and the much larger Galveston Bay Refinery, the nation’s fourth largest refinery.