Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee Secures $900,000 Settlement from ITC Due to an Explosion at Its Deer Park Facility
Houston, Texas (April 27, 2021) – Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee settled a lawsuit
with Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) for $900,000 in connection with the 2019 Deer Park
fire. Two years ago, a fire erupted at ITC’s bulk liquid terminal when a tank containing a
flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture caught fire, eventually spreading to additional tanks.
The fire created a plume over the entirety of the City of Houston before the fire was extinguished
days later. The fire made national news and closed local schools and businesses.
The lawsuit holds ITC accountable for the Deer Park fire, specifically for violating Harris County
development regulations and discharging pollutants into the County storm water system. The Texas
Attorney General’s Office is pursuing an environmental enforcement case against ITC for unlawful
air emissions and water discharges without the County. Because of a recent state
law that takes away Harris County’s right to bring cases under state environmental laws where the
state has already intervened, Harris County was not able to bring the claims brought by the
Attorney General. The Attorney General’s lawsuit is filed in Travis County and will not be heard by
a Harris County judge or jury.
Harris County Attorney Christian D. Menefee released the following statement:
“The Harris County Attorney’s Office will use any tools available to hold industry accountable at
the local level. This is also a victory for taxpayers, almost $1,000,000 will be returned to the
County. This is a sizeable settlement—one of the largest our office has achieved for this type of
case. We will look at all angles to seek environmental justice and push these companies to follow
proper preventative measures to avoid future disasters like this one,” said Menefee. “I also urge
state legislators to revisit the law preventing Harris County from bringing environmental claims
that affect its residents. Harris County should be allowed to pursue
comprehensive actions against these polluters, and my office stands ready to do just that.”
About the Harris County Attorney’s Office
Christian D. Menefee serves as the Harris County Attorney, the County's chief civil lawyer. The
Harris County Attorney's Office is committed to protecting and proactively advocating for the
interests of Harris County residents and government through the civil justice system. This
settlement represents Menefee’s commitment to protect the environment by holding polluters
accountable. Menefee continues to be a voice for the people, standing up for vulnerable
communities and using civil actions to ensure our rights are protected and expanded.