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Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott, sued BP PLC following a 2005 explosion at the oil company’s Gulf Coast refinery. The lawsuit alleged that BP violated Texas’ state clean air act. Mr. Abbott just announced that BP has agreed to settle the case for $50 million, an sum Abbott called "a record-setter for the state’s clean air act." Abbott was also quoted by the AP as saying:

“There are rules that must be followed, and if you violate those rules there will be consequences,” Abbott said. “They exposed Houstonians … to poor air quality and now they’re paying the price for it.”

The settlement with Texas also resolves violations from a high-profile 41-day benzene release in April 2010 that prompted a class-action suit by Texas City residents and an investigation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Critics in Texas say the six year litigation took too long to resolve BP’s air pollution violations, and that the settlement money should be used to go toward environmental protection and air monitoring for cancer-causing benzene in the effected communities.

Notwithstanding this criticism, Abbott deserves credit for seeing this litigation through. The irony is, that while he was working to wrap up this settlement, Texas’ governor, Rick Perry, was telling everyone who would listen that dismantling the EPA and deregulating polluters were keys to creating jobs in Texas and the rest of the country. Is Mr. Perry on the side of "fer" the $50 million settlement or on the side of against the settlement after he was fer it, after he was standing up for it, before he was against it?

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