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.
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.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.