Team Industrial Services, Inc. Admits Negligently Releasing Pollutants in the Air at a Refinery Near Borger, Texas
AMARILLO, Texas — At a hearing yesterday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, Team Industrial Services, Inc., (Team), which provided leak detection and repair services, as required by the Clean Air Act, at a refinery near Borger, Texas, admitted that it negligently released hazardous pollutants into the ambient air and thereby negligently placed others in danger of death or serious bodily injury. According to plea documents filed in the case, Team faces up to a five-year term of probation and up to a $200,000 fine or twice the gain or loss resulting from the offense. A sentencing date will be set by further order of the Court. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
According to plea documents filed in the case, on specific occasions in 2007 through 2009, certain Team employees working at the refinery knowingly failed to follow required protocols while conducting emissions monitoring of certain refinery components. The employees also manipulated testing data to falsely represent emissions monitoring events that were not performed. Their negligence in failing to properly monitor these refinery components enabled the release of emissions into the ambient air and thereby negligently placed others in imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury.
A Team supervisor knew the emissions monitoring data were false, yet this supervisor, and another Team employee, altered the emissions monitoring database to falsely represent emissions monitoring events to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that resulted in false representations/certifications to those agencies.
As part of their plea agreement with the government, Team agrees to develop and implement an Environmental Compliance Plan that specifically addresses its leak detection and reporting activities to achieve appropriate compliance with the Clean Air Act’s leak detection and repair regulations. Team also acknowledges that its facility, located on Florida Street, in Borger, will be placed on the EPA’s List of Violating Facilities, and will, therefore, be ineligible for any federally funded contract, grants or loans, until such time as the EPA removes it from the list.
The investigation was conducted by the EPA Criminal Investigation Division.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christy Drake of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Amarillo, Texas, is in charge of the prosecution.
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