In October 2011, a rogue spark ignited a cloud of flammable gas at Magnablend's chemical processing facility in Waxahachie, setting off a massive fire that burned for several days. The company pledged to rebuild the destroyed plant at the site of the abandoned Superconducting Super Collider.
The EPA declared that the smoke itself wasn't harmful, but the Magnablend facility stored anhydrous ammonia, phosphoric acid, and any number of other chemicals that could contaminate the environment. That December, Magnablend sent out a press release boasting of its cleanup efforts. It had established a system to capture runoff from the site, scrubbed what remained of the buildings of chemicals, and was working with the EPA and others to monitor the air, soil, and water.
One of the companies that helped with the cleanup was Environmental, Safety, & Health Consulting Services, an environmental remediation firm out of Louisiana. The company had approached Magnablend upon hearing of the fire and offered its services. Magnablend agreed.
All told, ES&H says, it completed provided some $7.3 million worth of cleanup to Magnablend. The company now claims in a lawsuit that it never got its money, not all of it at least. According to the complaint, originally filed in a Louisiana state court but transferred Thursday to federal court in the Northern District of Texas, Magnablend still owes $3.3 million.
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Magnablend denies this. In court filings, it says that ES&H's agreement was with Magnablend's insurer, Aspen, which had no authority to make a binding agreement on behalf of Magnablend. Magnablend wound up paying for some of the work but refused to cover that completed by ES&H prior to October 31, 2011. ES&H thinks Magnablend, not Aspen, is liable for the other charges and wants to put the matter to a jury.