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BP's Texas City refinery leads nation in deaths

HOUSTON - According to a front page article in the Houston Chronicle, BP's Texas City refinery has killed more workers than any other in the nation. Following the catastrophic disaster that killed 15 workers in March, 2005 at the BP Texas City refinery, five more have been killed in BP refineries around the country. Three of those were at the Texas City facility. This means that a total of 20 workers have died in refinery accidents at BP refineries in the period 2005 to 2008. 18 of those died at Texas City. During the same period, 9 other deaths have occurred at the 146 non-BP refineries in other parts of the country. A total of 29 people have been killed in refinery accidents from 2005 to 2008.

BP was in OSHA's spotlight even before the catastrophe in 2005. They have been fined more than $20 million. The company has also been the center of attention for the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board. The Chronicle quotes Willian E. Wright, a CSB board member and interim executive as saying, "We are clearly concerned by the frequency of deaths at this refinery. The apparent rate of fatalities is now higher than it was prior to March, 2005."

Brent Coon, a Beaumont attorney who has represented dozens of families of killed and injured refinery workers declared to the Chronicle, "None of these plants are re-investing like they should - production is at an all-time high…They're pushing the operating envelope at all of these plants, and that makes all of them to some degree time bombs."

While oil companies put profits before people's lives, working people and their families are outraged by these unnecessary deaths. Their rage is certain to be heard at the polls in 2008.

--By Paul Hill

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