Man gets probation after oil processing plant explosion

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) – A Canadian man has been sentenced to two years of probation for not doing enough to prevent the hazardous conditions that led to an explosion that injured three workers at an oil processing plant in southeastern Montana.

U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said 44-year-old Mark Hurst of Edmonton, Alberta pleaded guilty in February to negligent endangerment under the Clean Air Act. He was sentenced Thursday and fined $5,000.

Prosecutors said that while working as project manager of the processing plant in Wibaux, Hurst notified management about dangers due to inadequate ventilation and wiring, but the facility continued to operate. It was destroyed in a December 2012 explosion as the plant accepted a delivery of flammable natural gas condensate.

Hurst testified against the company president last month. Peter Margiotta of Edmonton was convicted of three felonies, including conspiracy.

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