The USMWF Humanitarian award recognizes extraordinary humanitarian service and activism by individuals or groups, including professional and/or volunteer work conducted primarily for the contributions made for lost workers and their families. For dedication in improving regulations, laws and general working conditions. "Extraordinary Humanitarian Services" are defined as activities initiated by individuals and/or groups, working alone or in association with others to the alleviation of human suffering, protection of life and/or the promotion of heath and safety. Nominees do not have to be in association with USMWF.
Anyone that is involved with families of lost workers, safety and health are aware of the tragedies inflicted by BP; a few of which were on September 2, 2004 and March 23, 2005 /Hazards Magazine. Rarely does big business worry about the consequences of their actions or lack there of but occasionally they cross a path that takes them to a dead end. For BP that dead end was Eva Rowe and Brent Coon two rocks in the road that wouldn’t budge.
Spencer Maus of Jase Consulting, Inc. (211 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150, Chicago, Illinois 60606) nominated Ms. Rowe and Mr. Coon for the USMWF Humanitarian Award.
I feel both have made a huge contribution to us all and by vote they were by far one of the leading teams in advancement, recognition, and awareness they have represented the families well. The "Remembering the Fifteen Bill" will be presented to legislators on the anniversary of The last BP tragedy (March 23rd) in Austin TX. This will include the presentation of the first USMWF Humanitarian Award to Ms. Eva Rowe and Mr. Brent Coon. We will have further details soon and will post them on the weekly toll blog.
(Update) BP Settles With Injured Workers in Texas Blast Suits
Nomination of Eva Rowe for Humanitarian Award Application
On March 23, 2005, Eva Rowe’s parents, James and Linda Rowe, were working as subcontractors for J.E. Merit Constructors Inc. at the BP Chemical Refining plant in Texas City, Texas. On that Good Friday 2005, a terrible and preventable explosion took the lives of Eva’s parents and the lives of 13 others.
On November 9, 2006, Eva and her attorney announced they had reached an unprecedented settlement in her lawsuit against BP over the death of her parents. Unlike other plaintiffs who were only seeking compensation for themselves, Eva fought for an agreement that included the release of sealed BP corporate documents that would have been presented during trial and showed the company’s weak safety record. The release of those documents should not only aid the government’s investigation being lead by Carolyn Merritt, chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the federal agency which investigates all major chemical disasters, but also force the refinery industry to prevent similar tragedies. The settlement also mandated that at least $30 million in charitable donations be made to three foundations on behalf of the victims. Eva established three separate foundations, by giving $100,000 to each foundation to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology, and to research new medical treatments for burn victims. The donations are:
- $12.5 million to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion.
- $12.5 million to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Truman G. Blocker Adult Burn Unit, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. More than 20 victims of the explosion were treated at this facility.
- $5 million to The College of the Mainland, in Texas City, for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion.
- Also as part of the settlement, BP is required to match up to $2 million of every dollar donated by individuals to each of the foundations.
I have attached a transcript of the 60 Minutes story which focuses on Ms. Rowe’s bravery in the face of one the largest petroleum companies in the world.
Humanitarian Award Application
Brent A. Coon
Brent A. Coon & Associates
3550 Fannin, Beaumont, TX 77701
On November 9, 2006, Mr. Brent A. Coon, representing Eva Rowe in her lawsuit against BP in the deaths of her parents caused by oil refinery explosion in Texas City, Texas, on March 23, 2005, announced he had reached an unprecedented settlement. The settlement included a “first ever” agreement to release millions of sealed corporate documents that would have been presented during trial.
The settlement also mandated that at least $32 million in charitable donations be made to three foundations on behalf of the victims. Mr. Coon and Ms. Rowe established the three separate foundations, by giving $100,000 each to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology, and to research new medical treatments for burn victims. The donations, for which Mr. Coon waived all compensation, are:
- A $12.5 million donation to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O’Connor Process Safety Center, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. The Center was established in 1995 in memory of Ms. O’Connor who was an engineer killed in a Texas City refinery explosion. Ms. Rowe selected the O’Connor Center to help further its work in improving refinery safety.
- A $12.5 million donation to the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, Truman G. Blocker Adult Burn Unit, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. Victims of the explosion were treated at this facility.
- A $5 million donation to The College of the Mainland, in Texas City, for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers, in memory of all 15 people who died in the Texas City explosion. Ms. Rowe wanted to promote education and training of students seeking careers in refinery and chemical plant safety and process technology.
- A $1 million donation to The Cancer Center at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Rowe, which was their favorite charity.
- A $1 million donation to support education in Hornbeck, Louisiana schools in memory of Mrs. Rowe. Eva Rowe attended schools there and Mrs. Rowe had been a teacher there before she worked at the BP plant. who died in the Texas City explosion.
- In addition, BP will match up to $2 million each for any donations made by individuals during the next six months to either Texas A&M, UTMB or College of the Mainland programs, a potential $6 million in additional donations.
Mr. Coon’s work has assisted in a government investigation into the actions, or lack of, that caused the explosion, and 15 deaths at the BP Texas City explosion. This investigation is being lead by Carolyn Merritt, who was appointed by President Bush to be chairman of the U.S. Chemical Safety Board, the federal agency which investigates all major chemical disasters. She has partially relied on the documents and findings of Brent Coon & Associates as part of her investigation.
Mr. Coon’s hard work and actions, on behalf of Ms. Rowe, received positive, international, media coverage that reflected a positive light on all attorneys. 60 Minutes, the Today Show, the Wall Street Journal, the Houston Chronicle, the Financial Times, The Times of London, the New York Times and the Associated Press are examples of the positive press received by Mr Coon as a member of the College of the State Bar of Texas.
At his own expense, Mr. Coon continues his hard work on behalf of all Texas citizens, whose lives are dedicated to the important and thriving Texas oil industry. Mr. Coon is spearheading the passage of bill in the Texas Legislature to do everything possible to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again. The Eva Bill is an amendment to Section 1, Chapter 411 of the Texas State Labor Code. Further, with the help of Nicholas Lampson, the U.S. Congressman from the 22nd District, this important piece of legislation will be introduced in the 110th United States Congress.
In closing, Mr. Coon’s actions and adherence to the ethics and principals of the Texas State Bar Association and the College of the State Bar of Texas, demonstrates what can be achieved through diligence, hard work and holding not only himself, but also the plaintiffs, to a higher standard. His work proved that long standing precedents can be overturned, that actions for right can overcome might and that the importance of integrity in a courtroom and demonstrated that the high standards the Texas Bar Association and the College of the State Bar of Texas are imperative in achieving justice.
J. Spencer Maus
JASE Consulting, Inc.
211 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 1150
Chicago, IL 60610