An energy company was convicted Friday of six felony counts and will pay $15 million in connection with a 2004 gasoline pipeline explosion in Walnut Creek, Calif., that killed five construction workers and injured four others, according to theSan Francisco Chronicle.
Attorneys for KMGP Services Co. Inc., a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, entered no-contest pleas.
The company will pay a $10 million fine in the criminal case, involving violations of the state labor code, and $5 million to end a related civil prosecution, Deputy District Attorney Lon Wixson said.
Tom Bannigan, president of Kinder Morgan's products pipeline business, said in a statement, "We extend our deepest sympathies to the families and individuals affected by this tragic accident. While it can never make up for the losses associated with this incident, we hope that accepting our share of responsibility and reaching these settlements will help bring closure to this matter."
The families of the five men who were killed and others who were injured by the blast have reached separate civil settlements totaling at least $69 million with Kinder Morgan and other companies that were involved in the incident.
Only the subsidiary of Kinder Morgan, the nation's largest underground fuel shipper, was criminally charged.
As part of the agreement, Kinder Morgan's employees must fully inspect its pipelines during excavation and conduct an audit of its training procedures.
Energy firm convicted in deadly pipeline blast (9/24)
September 24, 2007