Manager knew safety concerns at Montana plant that exploded

— The manager of an oil processing plant in eastern Montana that exploded and burned in 2012 has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act.

The Billings Gazette reports that the plea agreement by Mark Hurst was reached recently in U.S. District Court in Billings. Hurst was the project manager for Custom Carbon Processing’s Wibaux operation, where an explosion and fire on Dec. 29, 2012, injured three workers.

If the court accepts the plea deal, Hurst is scheduled to be sentenced June 27.

Federal prosecutors noted that in July 2012 Hurst acknowledged the facility was so poorly wired and ventilated that “we run the risk of killing someone.”