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By Associated Press
DALLAS – Another senior executive of a chemical company has been charged with an explosion at a plant in Houston in 2017 in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
Michael Keough, Vice President of Logistics at Arkema Inc.'s North American subsidiary, was charged with crimes related to his incidents. Harris County District Attorney's Office, a fire and explosion at the company's Crosby factory , announced Wednesday. The company was also charged.
Keough mistakenly told officials that Arkema had monitored potentially explosive chemical tanks in real time when the company did not have enough data to be warned early, according to district attorney Kim Ogg. These "misrepresentations" resulted in two sheriff deputies heading directly into a poisonous cloud, which then spread to release others.
A lawyer for Keough, Dan Cogdell, called the indictment. absurd "and" beyond rational thinking. "
" There was literally never an indictment like this for a single reason – what Mike did was not a crime, "Cogdell said in a statement.
The charges against Keough were weeks after the fires in two other chemical plants in Houston announced that on the day President Donald Trump visited Crosby to sign executive mandates to help accelerate oil and gas pipeline projects
Ogg rarely acknowledged environmental infringements during a press conference Employees of the company, however, proved to be insufficient to protect the public.
"Too often, companies can simply pay fines, and this does not change the behavior of the companies," she said
Keough is the third employee of Arkema to be charged since the hurricane shut down power at the company's Crosby plant. Without electricity, some of the chemicals in the factory burned and partially exploded, sending smoke into the air.
Richard Rowe, head of the French company and plant manager Leslie Comardelle, was commissioned last year to release toxic chemicals. They should be brought to trial in May.
In 2018, the US Chemical Safety Board issued a report stating that Arkema had not considered how a Harvey-level flood could affect its electric power system.
An attorney for Rusty Hardin said Wednesday that prosecutors tried to blame Arkema for an "act of God" and called the case "political."