Lubrizol Vows to Fight Charges

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Lubrizol Vows to Fight Charges

Lubrizol will vigorously defend itself against charges of lax safety standards and pollution filed by French prosecutors last week, a company spokesperson told Lube Report Monday afternoon.

The charges and an order to pay more than 4 million stems from the September fire at Lubrizols lubricant additive manufacturing facility in Rouen. French prosecutors announced Lubrizol was charged with pollution and failure to meet safety standards that resulted in serious injury to health, security or substantially degraded wildlife, flora, air, soil or water quality, reads a statement from Tribunal Judiciaire, a panel of judges in Paris.

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The prosecutor also ordered the company to establish a 375,000 escrow account to guarantee the rights of victims by allowing for the repair of human and environmental damages that may have been caused. The statement went on to say that the amounts correspond to the magnitude of the disaster, while adding investigators havent determined the cause of the blaze.

Lubrizol intends to vigorously defend [itself] against these allegations, the company said in a statement to Lube Report. The mise en examen status will allow Lubrizol to demonstrate that the company has fully complied with its obligations as operator of a classified installation and that its fire-fighting measures met the requirements of its permit and the applicable regulations.

“It should be emphasized that Lubrizols fire-fighting measures and other operations are subject to very regular inspection and permitting by environmental and safety regulatory agencies and that specific responses already have been provided to firmly challenge all of the various points raised by the inspection report created after the fire.

Mise en examen means being under indictment.

The blaze destroyed more than 5,200 tons of Lubrizol chemicals as well as 4,250 tons at a neighboring warehouse owned by Normandie Logistique. In the aftermath, crops worth an estimated 40 million to 50 million were destroyed out of safety precautions, according to the Minister of Agriculture.

Provincial authorities have still only permitted resumption of limited activities at the plant.

Lubrizol is confident that the investigation underway will determine the origin of the fire, which much of the evidence suggests was outside of Lubrizols site, and demonstrate that Lubrizol has completely fulfilled its regulatory obligations. Lubrizol will of course continue to cooperate closely with the judicial authorities, the company said in a statement, adding its fire-fighting measures and the commitment of its teams and the emergency services made it possible to confine the event to only storage warehouses, without causing any injuries.

Lubrizols Rouen facility is classified as a manufacturer of high-risk from chemicals.

Photo: Aerial_Footage

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