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Refinery Fire $2 Million Settlement

Refinery Fire Costs Chevron $2 million

Chevron Corp. will pay $2 million in fines and restitution stemming from a refinery fire last summer in the city of Richmond in the San Francisco Bay area, according to the Associated Press. Thousands of residents came to area   hospitals with respiratory problems because of smoke from the blaze.

Chevron also pleaded no contest to six charges brought by the California Attorney General’s Office and the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office. Those charges included failure to use certain equipment to guard employees from potential harm, AP reported.

The $2 million Chevron is paying covers: $1.28 million in fines; $575,000 in reimbursements to the Attorney General, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District; and $145,000 to a partnership that trains people in renewable energy.

An investigation found that corrosion in a pipe led to a leak that started the Aug. 6, 2012, fire. Black smoke enveloped the area around the refinery. Even though Chevron has been told to replace the pipe, which was installed in the 1970s, by its own inspectors it had not done so, according to AP.

“This criminal case achieves our goals of holding Chevron accountable for their conduct, protecting the public and ensuring a safer work environment at the refinery,” Contra Costa County District Attorney Mark Peterson said in a statement.

Although a wave of vapor covered 19 refinery employees before the fire started, none of them were badly hurt, AP said.

Chevron has already forked over $10 million to resolve 24,000 claims from residents and to compensate local hospitals and government bodies, according to AP.

But the company still faces a negligence lawsuit filed last week against it by the city of Richmond.

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