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US refinery reaches $1 million settlement, admits no wrongdoing in 2018 explosion that injured 36

10 August 2021

The Superior Refining Company has reached a settlement of around $1 million in relation to the 2018 explosion at its oil refinery in Superior, northwestern Wisconsin which injured 36 people and caused a mass evacuation of 21,000 people. The settlement reached on June 24 could mean those who were evacuated are eligible to receive $150 in compensation each.

The refinery was shutting down in preparation for a five-week turnaround when an explosion occurred on April 26, likely due to a faulty valve, sending several people to local hospitals with injuries. The resulting fire was extinguished after two hours but covered the surrounding area in noxious smoke, and local authorities only gave the all-clear for residents to return to their homes the following morning – 18 hours after locals were first evacuated.

The $1 million settlement was reached in a federal lawsuit that was brought forward by three local residents who claimed they had suffered economic losses and other damages as a result of the incident and evacuation. As part of the settlement, the Superior Refining Company – which was owned by Husky Energy at the time and now owned Cenovus Energy – will not admit any wrongdoing.

According to reports, total damages as a result of the evacuation are estimated to be almost $10 million, however the three residents settled due to the chance that a prolonged litigation could result in a delay in compensation. Any adults living in the evacuation zone at the time of the incident are eligible to make a claim with payments limited to $300 per household. The three resident who brought the lawsuit forward will receive $2,000 each.

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