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Press Release

Intercontinental Terminals Company to Pay Over $6.6 Million for Injuries to Natural Resources Resulting from a Fire at Its Facility Near Houston

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that Intercontinental Terminals Company LLC (ITC) has agreed to pay over $6.6 million to federal and state natural resource trustees to resolve claims for natural resource damages resulting from a 2019 fire at ITC’s Deer Park terminal facility near Houston that released hazardous chemicals.

A complaint filed concurrently with the proposed consent decree seeks money damages and costs under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The fire resulted in the release of hundreds of thousands of barrels-worth of petrochemical products and firefighting water and foam into Tucker Bayou and surrounding waterways, including the Houston Ship Channel.

Designated federal and state trustees determined that the hazardous substances released from ITC’s facility caused significant injuries to ecological resources and services, including birds and marsh and riparian habitat areas. In addition, the hazardous chemicals released into air and water resulted in lost recreational opportunities in the Deer Park area, including temporary closures of multiple state, county and city parks and the Lynchburg Ferry, as well as the cancelation of an annual historical reenactment at San Jacinto State Park.

The settlement will be used to compensate the public for natural resource injuries, reimburse trustee agencies for the costs of assessment and fund the restoration planning and oversight process that will guide how restoration will be conducted. After a process that will include an opportunity for public comment, the trustees will use the cash payment to implement natural resource restoration projects to address ecological injuries and enhance recreational use to address lost human use of the injured resources. ITC previously paid about $1 million to reimburse federal and state trustees for their prior assessment costs.

“The 2019 fire at ITC’s Deer Park facility released a significant amount of hazardous substances that injured the Houston Ship Channel,” said Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Today’s settlement will enable restoration work to improve the environment in the channel and other affected waterways in the area and to enhance recreational opportunities for Texas residents and visitors.” 

“This settlement will help repair, in part, the devastating environmental damage caused by the release of hazardous substances from ITC’s Deer Park facility,” said U.S. Attorney Alamdar S. Hamdani for the Southern District of Texas. “I am committed to the restoration of clean waterways and a diverse ecosystem to benefit the residents of Deer Park.”

“NOAA is pleased to have worked cooperatively with industry and our co-trustees to reach an agreement to restore coastal waterways and communities impacted by this catastrophic event,” said Assistant Administrator Nicole LeBoeuf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Ocean Service. “Clean and resilient waterways are vital to coastal communities and this restoration will especially benefit those who have been disproportionately impacted by pollution.”

“I’m pleased we were able to secure this natural resource damages settlement after the serious destruction caused by the fire at Deer Park,” said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “This fire burned for three days, spewing hazardous chemicals into our air, water, and land. Texas’s environmental enforcement suit against ITC is still pending. All companies operating in our state must take the utmost precaution to prevent any such disaster from harming our citizens and our environment.”

The designated federal trustees are NOAA and the Department of the Interior through the Fish and Wildlife Service. The state trustees are the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas General Land Office.

The federal and state trustees worked with ITC to perform the injury assessment. The Trustees will continue working together to develop and adopt a restoration plan that will be published for public comment.

In an earlier related CERCLA enforcement action, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through the Justice Department secured an administrative settlement with ITC for $5.25 million to reimburse the United States for costs in responding to the releases from the fire at ITC’s facility.

For more information about the ITC tank fire, see

Attorneys from the Justice Department’s Environmental Enforcement Section and the Texas Office of the Attorney General are handling the case on behalf of the federal and state trustees.

The proposed consent decree was lodged in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas and is subject to a 30-day public comment period and final court approval. The consent decree and information on how to submit a public comment is available on the Justice Department’s website:

Updated April 2, 2024

Press Release Number: 24-381