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Houston — Tanker Collision Causes Thousands of Gallons of Gas Product Leaking into Houston Ship Channel

Posted on Sunday, May 12th, 2019 at 7:55 am by Williams Hart   

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10, 2019, a collision between a massive tanker and two oil barges has resulted in about tens of thousands of gallons of a gasoline product leaking into the Houston Ship Channel.

According to initial reports, a 755-foot tanker collided with a tug that was pushing two barges filled with 25,000 gallons of reformate each. This occurred in the Houston Ship Channel, near Bayport, Texas. One of the barges was capsized, and it is still unclear how much of the product was leaked into the water.

Reformate is a refined product that is blended with gasoline to boost octane to achieve levels needed for commercial sales. It is an extremely flammable liquid and vapor, and it can be fatal once it’s swallowed. It’s also toxic to marine life.

Crews have now deployed roughly 3,600 feet of boom to prevent the material from spreading farther into the water.

The Galveston County Health District reported that its main priority is the health and safety of the community. A gasoline smell does not necessarily mean there is a health hazard, but nonetheless, air monitoring is still conducted.

Officials believe that it is important for residents to know how to spot symptoms of a possible health hazard caused by this accident. These symptoms may include coughing, difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. Burning, irritation and redness of the skin, eyes, nose, and throat are other possible symptoms.

The elderly, children, pregnant women, and those with respiratory issues or weakened immune systems may be especially affected.

The United States Coast Guard will be investigating this accident further.

It is unfortunate to hear of this accident. Alas, this is not the first time that it happens. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Houston — Damaged Storage Facility Contaminates Houston Channel, Creates Cloud of Cancer-Causing Chemical

Posted on Monday, March 25th, 2019 at 1:35 am by Williams Hart   

A fire that broke out at the Intercontinental Terminal Co. (ITC) facility in Deer Park, Texas about a week ago has proven to be potentially more dangerous than initially thought. This is because on the one hand, it has created a large plume of black smoke that contains the cancer-causing chemical benzene and this smoke not only hangs over the city but it has also started to drift off over the eastern parts of Harris County, even reaching out as far as Austin and San Antonio. And for another, it has also caused oil byproducts to leak into the Houston Ship Channel after a dike wall collapsed because of a new fire that reignited in the facility last Friday, March 22, 2019.

As a result to these recent developments, the ship channel is closed for the meantime. Captain Kevin Oditt with the U.S. Coast Guard said that they deployed a total of 8,500 feet of boom, hoping to trap as much of the chemical waste that entered the water as possible. Unfortunately, even with these efforts, some of the waste still did make it to the ship channel’s waters, and so far, nine toxins were detected, most particularly benzene — a colorless, flammable liquid with a sweet odor that is also a known carcinogen. Other chemicals detected were total xylenes, pyrene, anthracene, ethylbenzene, toluene, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and 2-methylnaphthalene.

On Friday, ITC reported that there were still about 60,000 barrels (2.52 million gallons) of hazardous chemicals in the damaged section of the complex, and by Saturday morning, they no longer knew how much remained.

Ever since the fire broke out and the air has been contaminated with several chemicals, about 1,000 people have sought treatment at a pop-up clinic because of nausea, headaches, and other symptoms, with 15 of the most severe cases brought to hospital emergency rooms. With this, the Texas National Guard has dispatched troops to assist local authorities with air monitoring, thus prompting take-shelter alerts and road closures.

This chemical plant fire is now being considered as the worst industrial disaster since the March 2005 explosion at BP Plc’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 people.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will be investigating the blaze. Meanwhile, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is planning to file a lawsuit against ITC, accusing the latter of violating clean-air laws.

It is unfortunate to hear of this chemical plant fire and the consequences that residents are experiencing because of this. Alas, fires in industrial or manufacturing properties are common occurrences in the United States. In fact, between 2011 and 2015, municipal fire departments in the U.S. reported that an estimated average of 37,910 fires at industrial or manufacturing properties happen each year, with annual losses from these fires estimated at 16 civilian deaths, 273 civilian injuries, and $1.2 billion in direct property damage. Furthermore, structure fires accounted for 20% of the fires, 49% of civilian deaths, 80% of civilian injuries, and 67% of direct property damage.

Additionally, oil spills are incredibly dangerous as well. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Industrial fires and oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill/chemical plant fire, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


Houston — Sims Bayou Chemical Spill Troubles Environmentalists

Posted on Friday, February 15th, 2019 at 8:45 am by Williams Hart   

64,000 gallons of jet fuel escaped from a Southwest Airlines-owned fuel storage facility to Sims Bayou in Houston on Sunday, February 3, 2019, and environmental organizations have now been raising an alarm over the potential health impacts of this chemical spill.

According to Southwest Airlines, the spill was the result of a pump of malfunction at the Southwest facility that stores fuel at Hobby airport. The type of fuel that was involved in this particular accident is a Jet A fuel, a confirmed animal carcinogen with unknown relevance to humans. One ingredient in this fuel is naphthalene, which is listed as “immediately dangerous to life or health” at concentrations of 250 parts per million. With this, it is not yet clear what long-term impacts the spill will have on the health of the bayou and the nearby residents.

Cleanup is now ongoing in the bayou, though mitigation for this is expected to take a few weeks.

What happened at the Sims Bayou is an unfortunate thing, and it is even more unfortunate that nearby residents have to receive the brunt of this accident. Oil spills caused by damaged tankers, pipelines, or offshore oil rigs almost always result in immediate and long-term environmental damage that can last for decades. This is because they coat everything they touch and become long-term but unwelcome parts of every ecosystem they enter. As a result, they can have damaging consequences to the marine life in particular, killing or contaminating fish and smaller organisms. Oil spills can indirectly affect humans too, especially if they consume contaminated organisms or have some contact with contaminated water or sand (in the case of beaches).

Oil spills can be as complicated as they are damaging to the victims. Thankfully, there are lawyers who are experts in cases like this. That is why, if you think you are a victim of an effect of an oil spill, or you know someone who is, or you lost a loved one because of this, then please never hesitate in asking help from these lawyers. They will help you in protecting your rights and in getting you the justice that you deserve.

If someone you love was seriously hurt or killed in an accident, you may be unsure of where to turn. The attorneys of Williams Hart have experience helping people through the aftermath of catastrophic accidents, and we can help you too. Contact our law firm at (713) 352-7071 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.

Note: We report on the types of accidents and injuries our law firm has experience handling. Our hearts go out to victims of the accidents described on this blog, and we hope that future accidents, injuries, and deaths can be prevented. These posts are gathered from recent stories in the news. As new developments occur, these stories are often updated. If information contained within this article is false or outdated, please contact us so we can include the new information or make a correction.

Disclaimer: Williams Hart hopes that by showing how often catastrophic accidents occur, we can begin a conversation about how to reduce or prevent them. We sincerely hope that the articles on our blog arm readers with the information needed to avoid being involved in such accidents. Content on this blog should not be construed as legal advice.


BP terminates internal claims program, leaving many without recourse

Posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 11:39 am by Williams Hart   

Oil giant BP terminated its internal claims program four years after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, leaving thousands of victims without recourse to pursue reparations for their damages, Al Jazeera America reported on July 14.

This internal claims program (which is different from the Deepwater Horizon Court Supervised Settlement Program) has been utilized by injured rig workers, small business owners, and even casino firms whose businesses were affected by the oil spill and who weren’t eligible to be paid under the court-supervised settlement.

BP senior vice president for United States communications and external affairs Geoff Morrell said the closure of the internal claims program will not affect the majority of claim settlers, although lawyer Stuart Smith and others believe BP is abandoning thousands of victims who may be eligible to claim compensation.

Successfully filing a claim with the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center can be an arduous and tedious process and may take a long time. The attorneys at Williams Hart believe you should not be accountable for any financial damages that occurred as the result of this disastrous incident. If you need help filing a claim or appealing a rejected claim, call our offices at (713) 352-7071 today.


BP pursuing funds from those overpaid in oil spill compensation suit

Posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014 at 10:43 am by Williams Hart   

In a court filing on June 27, BP asked a federal judge to order the return of overpaid funds plus interest from payments made to businesses that claimed losses due to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the Associated Press reported.

BP said the court should mandate a recalculation of the awards because it was agreed in courts last May that the policy for calculating losses needed to be revised. Meanwhile, BP continues to contest the court’s decision that businesses don’t need to provide proof that they were directly affected by the oil spill in order to get compensation from the company.

The legal process of filing a claim with the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center can be a tedious undertaking. For this reason, you should employ the legal services of our attorneys at Williams Hart, who can help you file a claim or appeal a denied claim. Call our offices today at (713) 352-7071 to discuss your situation.


La. governor approves $1 billion earmark of BP settlement money

Posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 1:57 pm by Williams Hart   

Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal, has approved setting aside $1 billion in BP oil spill recovery money to make up the state’s “rainy day” fund, plus an elderly trust fund that has gone through budget cuts for the past few years.

Jindal’s office announced Jun. 13 that the oil spill fund will be used to balance next year’s state budget.

This amount is different from other civil penalties from environmental law violations; the penalty for these violations will be earmarked for coastal restoration and protection endeavors.

The oil spill money is still undergoing federal litigation and its date of availability to the state is still unknown.

The Gulf of Mexico oil spill, caused by BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well explosion, has affected the lives of thousands along the coast. If you have been adversely affected by the oil spill and are still having trouble receiving the compensation you believe you deserve, our knowledgeable attorneys at the Williams Hart may be able to help. Call our offices at (713) 352-7071 if you are interested in our legal help.


BP can’t delay damage payments

Posted on Monday, June 2nd, 2014 at 12:55 pm by Williams Hart   

London oil giant BP Plc, formerly known as British Petroleum, is not permitted to postpone paying hundreds of millions of dollars in damage claims to businesses and residents that were affected when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil well in Macondo exploded in 2010, Insurance Journal reported on May 27.

The Fifth U.S. Court of Appeals recently decided that BP should proceed paying the victims although the U.S. Supreme Court has not finished reviewing the company’s dispute that the settlement price was bloated.

In December of last year, a trial judge allowed BP to suspend payments to businesses allegedly affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, even those with undeniable proof that they were harmed, while the appeals court looked into a BP complaint. The company asserted that the claims administrator told them to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in “fictitious” claims, increasing the settlement’s price tag to $9.2 billion.

Our aggressive attorneys at Williams Hart are highly experienced with the Deepwater Horizon claims process. If you need assistance filing a claim as a resident or a business owner, call our offices at (713) 352-7071 to discuss your situation.


Louisiana budget missing funding for Gulf oil spill courtroom fees

Posted on Wednesday, May 28th, 2014 at 2:56 pm by Williams Hart   

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell made a request to local lawmakers that that they augment the 2014-2015 budget with an additional $15 million, without which his office cannot afford investigators and third-party experts who are currently working on building a case for the litigation against London-based oil giant BP, the Advocate reported on May 18.

Caldwell’s spokeswoman, Laura Gerdes Colligan, indicated in an email to reporters this week that lack of funds would stop all of the work. Louisiana is currently locked in an ongoing court battle with BP, whose Deepwater Horizon oil well in Macondo’s explosion spilled over 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, damaging both the economy and natural environment of Louisiana and other states.

If your business or residence has been negatively affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and you need to file for a financial compensation claim with BP, get in touch with our attorneys from the Williams Hart law group by dialing (713) 352-7071.


BP’s fines could top $17B for violations against Clean Water Act

Posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2014 at 3:47 pm by Williams Hart   

British oil giant BP will find out how much it will have to pay in fines for its involvement in the 2010 oil spill during the final phase of trial this coming January. Fines under the Clean Water Act could surpass a whopping $17 billion.

BP has already set aside over $42 billion in a fund for paying off fines and compensation.

The first phase of the trial covered the issue of negligence and ended April of last year. The second phase, which concluded last October, dealt with determining how many million barrels of oil spilled from the Deepwater Horizon. The first two phases will help determine how much BP’s fines will amount to in the third and final phase of trial.

The leak continued for 87 days and killed 11 BP workers and injured 17 others.

Filing a claim with the Deepwater Horizon Claims Center on your own can be extremely confusing, so don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance from our attorneys at the Williams Hart. Call our offices at (713) 352-7071 to see if we can help you receive the financial compensation you deserve.


Some Animals Still Feeling the Effects of Gulf Oil Spill

Posted on Tuesday, April 29th, 2014 at 8:54 pm by Williams Hart   

Four years have passed since oil giant BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, causing the deaths of 11 of its workers and the spilling of around 200 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Aside from negative impacts on nearby states’ beaches, estuaries, commercial fishing industries, and other local businesses, the spill heavily impacted local wildlife. While some of the ecological effects of the oil spill have lessened or disappeared altogether, a number of animals are still suffering from the effects of the spill, including:

  • Brown Pelicans
  • Bottlenose Dolphins
  • Sea Turtles
  • Sperm Whales
  • Loons
  • Red Snapper
  • Oysters
  • Crabs
  • Whale Sharks
  • Tuna

Even years after the BP oil spill, the effects are still vividly felt, both in the environment and in the finances of Gulf Coast residents and businesses. If you suffered losses as a result of the BP spill, you may be eligible for compensation for these losses. To learn more about taking action, contact Williams Hart today by calling us at (800) 220-9341.

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