Charles and David Koch are well-known for seeking less regulations. They are also known for their many environmental violations and for the money they spend on Republicans. Like Republicans today, and before George Bush they have taken money from the Koch Brothers. In return for that money Koch have increased their influence not only in Washington but throughout the United States in practically every state.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2001
TDD (202) 514-1888
KOCH PLEADS GUILTY TO COVERING UP ENVIRONMENTAL
VIOLATIONS AT TEXAS OIL REFINERY
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Koch Petroleum Group, L.P. pled guilty today to covering up environmental violations at its oil refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas.
Under the plea agreement, Koch will pay a total of $20 million dollars: $10 million in criminal fines and $10 million for special projects to improve the environment in Corpus Christi – a record amount imposed in an environmental prosecution. The plea agreement, filed today in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi, also requires that Koch successfully complete a five-year term of probation and adhere to a strict new environmental compliance program.
Federal grand juries returned an indictment against the company in September 2000 and a superceding indictment in January 2001, and a jury trial on the federal charges was scheduled to begin today in Corpus Christi. The company was charged with criminal violations of the Clean Air Act as well as conspiracy and making false statements to the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.
“Environmental crimes are real crimes that must be identified and prosecuted,” said John Cruden, Acting Attorney General for the Environment Division at the Justice Department. “Significant results such as today’s conviction should deter other corporations from violating the law. This result is a tribute to the State of Texas and federal investigators who developed this case.”
The company’s West Plant refinery is subject to Clean Air Act regulations that limit emissions of benzene, a hazardous air pollutant. Under the Act, the West Plant was required to comply with the federal benzene standards by April 1993, but Koch applied for and received a compliance waiver until January 1995. According to the original indictment, a whistleblower revealed that Koch’s West Plant had at least 91 metric tons of uncontrolled benzene in its liquid waste streams in 1995, some 15 times greater than the 6 metric ton limit that applied to the refinery.
Koch admitted that it concealed its noncompliance with the requirements of the Clean Air Act in 1995 by, among other things, failing to control emissions from certain waste management units at the refinery. Specifically, in January 1995, Koch certified that it had installed equipment necessary to control benzene-contaminated wastewater and then, without notifying the State of Texas or the U.S. EPA, disconnected a critical oil-water separator used to control benzene emissions. Koch then constructed a line to bypass the control equipment and built a stack to vent benzene vapors from the oil-water separator into the atmosphere. In addition, in April 1995, Koch filed a report that concealed the fact that the separator was venting benzene vapors to the atmosphere and falsely stated that the company had tested for benzene in certain waste streams.
“The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission takes very seriously its responsibility to enforce all environmental laws to protect public health and the environment,” said TNRCC Executive Director Jeff Saitas. “We will continue to work closely with state and federal task force members on environmental criminal matters.”
The case was investigated by the Texas Environmental Enforcement Task Force, comprised of federal and state agencies, including the FBI, the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division, and the TNRCC’s Special Investigations Unit. The case was prosecuted by the Department of Justice Environmental Crimes Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: JIM SWEENEY, DOJ
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 1995 (202)514-2008
GWEN BROWN, EPA
KOCH INDUSTRIES AND AFFILIATES CHARGED FOR HUNDREDS OF
OIL SPILLS IN SIX STATES
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In one of the largest Clean Water cases
ever brought, the Department of Justice, the Environmental
Protection Agency, and the United States Coast Guard today
announced the filing of a civil suit against Kansas-based Koch
Industries and several of its subdivisions for unlawfully
discharging millions of gallons of oil into the waters of six
states. One of the largest and most environmentally harmful spills
occurred in the Corpus Christi Bay along Texas’ eastern coast, an
area increasingly popular with college students on spring break.
Other spills polluted waters, including wetlands, across the states
of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Missouri and Alabama.
The action, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the
Southern District of Texas, charges that, since 1990, Koch and its
subsidiaries were responsible for more than 300 separate oil
spills. The suit is being brought under the Clean Water Act, as
amended by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The complaint seeks
penalties and a court order to require Koch to take such actions as
are necessary to protect U.S. waters and to eliminate future
Koch Industries, headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, operates
pipelines that transport crude oil and related products from oil
fields to refineries and tank farms. The spills occurred primarily
as a result of breaks in gathering lines caused by corrosion.
“Companies must take steps in advance, to prevent, detect, and
mitigate such environmentally damaging spills,” said Lois Schiffer,
the Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s
Environment and Natural Resources Division. “Our filing sends that
message, loud and clear.”
“Today’s action is another illustration of the Federal
Government’s on-going commitment to assure clean water and land for
all Americans by taking effective action against commercial
polluters who discharge oil and other hazardous substances in the
environment,” said Steven A. Herman, EPA’s Assistant Administrator
for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.
Laboratory studies have extensively documented the adverse
effects of even small amounts of oil — less than 1 part per
million — on a variety of organisms which provide food for fish.
In addition, floating oil sheens can asphyxiate fish and animals
that live at the bottom of lakes and rivers (benthic fauna), harm
waterfowl, and may cause economic loss through the fouling of
shorelines and beaches. The spills in this case damaged waters,
fish and waterfowl in various bays, lakes, rivers and streams.
Gaynell Griffin Jones, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern
District of Texas, where the case was filed, applauded the filing
and said “the U.S. Attorney’s Office is dedicated to taking all
necessary legal steps to protect our invaluable and irreplacable