Harris County DA files criminal charges against ITC

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has filed five environmental criminal charges against ITC as air quality and possible impact on the environment were huge concerns throughout the fire.

The charges all have to do with the chemicals that were sent into Tucker Bayou, which flows into Galveston Bay.

After the fire, the company’s makeshift dike broke and released xylene and benzene— both highly toxic chemicals— into the bayou.

The Environmental Crimes Division reviewed the evidence and investigators believe the water pollution in Tucker Bayou was at criminal levels from March 17 - 21.

“The discharge from the ITC fire into Tucker Bayou is a clear water pollution case. We are looking forward to reviewing the reports of other local and federal agencies,” Environmental Crimes Division Chief Prosecutor Alex Forrest said.

Forrest went on to say that as those other agencies finish their investigations, his division will be able to determine if there will be more charges or not.

ITC's attorney made a statement after hearing about the charges, saying there’s no question there was a large fire and an enormous effort to extinguish it, which resulted in a discharge into Tucker Bayou.

ITC could face a fine of up to $100,000 per each of the five charges filed.

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