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CAMPAIGN 2000

Oil Pipeline Firm Charged With Pollution Crimes in Texas

September 29, 2000|From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A federal grand jury on Thursday indicted one of the nation's biggest oil pipeline companies for alleged air pollution crimes in Texas, focusing a spotlight on a major GOP donor and the environment in Gov. George W. Bush's state just weeks before the election.

The indictment charges Koch Industries Inc., its subsidiary Koch Petroleum Group and four employees with 97 felonies for problems dating to 1995 with the cancer-linked pollutant benzene at a Corpus Christi plant.

The company disclosed the problems to Texas regulators and corrected them, but the indictment alleges Koch engaged in a conspiracy and made false statements to officials.

Koch spokesman Jay Rosser disputed the allegations as "not consistent with the facts."

Koch is charged with violating the Clean Air Act by not installing required emission control devices in 1995 at its refinery and using a device to destroy benzene fumes that could not handle the high levels routed to it.

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