Team Industrial Services, Inc. is Sentenced for Negligently Releasing Pollutants in the Air at a Refinery Near Borger, Texas
AMARILLO, Texas — At a hearing this morning in federal court in Amarillo, Texas, U.S. Magistrate Judge Clinton E. Averitte sentenced Team Industrial Services, Inc., (Team), to a five-year term of probation, ordered it to pay a $200,000 fine and imposed an Environmental Compliance Plan on the company. Team, a company that 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. Today’s announcement was made by U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
As part of its plea agreement with the government, Team agreed to develop and implement an Environmental Compliance Plan to specifically address its leak detection and reporting activities to comply with the Clean Air Act’s leak detection and repair regulations. In addition, Team also acknowledged that its facility on Florida Street in Borger is being placed on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) List of Violating Facilities, and as such, will be ineligible for any federally-funded contract, grants or loans, until EPA removes it from that list.
According to 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 EPA and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that resulted in false representations/certifications to those agencies.
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, was in charge of the prosecution .
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