There will be no federal criminal charges in connection with the April 2010 explosion at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes that killed seven employees.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said a lengthy investigation into possible violations of federal environmental and worker-safety laws concluded no crime had occurred.
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said the evidence reviewed “does not reach the exacting bar for criminal prosecution.” However, she said, the investigation by her office and others, including the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, “have prompted changes in how the industry conducts itself.” Durkan said she shared the decision with the survivors of the seven victims earlier Friday.
The investigation took four years, which prompted criticism from community members and others. Durkan said the DOJ will continue to work with the Chemical Safety Board to ensure a more expedited investigative process to ensure the public is served, the industry is held accountable and justice is done.”
Durkan said investigators reviewed the conclusions of the CSB and the state Department of Labor and Industries before concluding that criminal charges could not be pursued.
In 2010, L&I fined Tesoro $2.38 million, citing the company for 44 workplace violations, including willful disregard of safety regulations and failing to maintain 40-year-old equipment. Tesoro appealed the fine.
The CSB concluded in its investigation that Tesoro Refininery failed to use safe equipment, had poor inspection procedures and allowed its employees to regularly work in unnecessarily dangerous situations.