Commissioner Buckingham Applauds Settlement Reached to Pay Over $6 Million for Injuries to Natural Resources Resulting from a Fire Terminal Facility in Deer Park, Texas

Contact: Kimberly Hubbard
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PRESS RELEASE — Apr 02, 2024

AUSTIN — Today, Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. applauded the State of Texas and the United States settlement to recover natural resource damages caused by the March 2019 fire at the Deer Park facility owned by International Terminals Company, LLC ("ITC"). ITC has agreed to pay over $6.6 million to state and federal Natural Resource Trustees to resolve claims for natural resource damages under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act ("CERCLA") from releases of hazardous chemicals from ITC's terminal facility in Deer Park, Harris County, Texas.

The designated state trustees for the natural resources impacted by the releases from ITC's facility are the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and the Texas General Land Office. The federal trustees are the United States Department of the Interior through the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the United States Department of Commerce through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The State and federal trustees worked with ITC to perform the injury assessment. The Trustees will continue working together to develop and adopt a restoration plan.

"As one of the state-designated Natural Resources Trustees, the Texas General Land Office will work with our partners to ensure this settlement money will be used to implement natural resource restoration and recreational projects for the community affected by this destructive fire," said Commissioner Buckingham. "Taking care of Texans and our beautiful state is my top priority, and I am pleased to be a contributing voice in assuring these funds will be used to restore these highly impacted areas."

In 2019, ITC's Deer Park facility fire resulted in the release of hundreds of thousands of barrels of petrochemical products, firefighting water, and foam into Tucker Bayou and surrounding waterways, including the Houston Ship Channel. The Natural Resource Trustees determined that the hazardous substances released from ITC's facility caused significant impact and injuries to ecological resources and habitats, including marsh and riparian areas and birds. The releases to air and water also resulted in lost recreational opportunities in the Deer Park area, including temporary closures of multiple shoreline parks and the Lynchburg Ferry, as well as the cancelation of an annual historical reenactment at San Jacinto State Park.

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