Feds end criminal probe of deadly 2010 Tesoro Anacortes refinery explosion; no charges

SEATTLE -- The U.S. Attorney's Office announced Friday the Justice Department had closed its criminal investigation into the April 2010 explosion at the Tesoro Anacortes refinery that resulted in the deaths of seven Tesoro employees.  No charges will be brought.

Shortly after the explosion, federal criminal investigators and prosecutors began an investigation to determine whether federal criminal environmental and worker safety laws and regulations had been violated.

The decision to close the case with no criminal charges was shared with the survivors of the victims Friday morning, U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said.

“This tragedy demanded careful and thorough investigation.  I am satisfied that the investigators and the experienced environmental attorneys in my office evaluated all the evidence and determined it does not reach the exacting bar for criminal prosecution,” said Durkan.

“I believe this investigation, as well as those conducted by other agencies, have prompted changes in how the industry conducts itself.  We 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," she siad.

Durkan said the four-year investigation included interviewing past and present employees, reviewing thousands of documents, and consulting with industry experts.

Based on information developed through these investigative efforts, the Department of Justice has concluded there is insufficient evidence to support bringing criminal charges for violating federal environmental and worker safety laws and regulations, Durkan said.

To see an earlier story on the refinery, click here.