View Full Version : How's that "no regulations" thing working out for you, Texas?

04-19-2013, 12:39 PM
How's that "no regulations" thing working out for you, Texas?

West Texas Fertilizer Plant Hadn’t Been Inspected In The Past Five Years (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/04/18/1886991/west-texas-fertilizer-plant-hadnt-been-inspected-in-the-past-five-years/)

By Bryce Covert (http://thinkprogress.org/author/bcovert/) on Apr 18, 2013 at 9:01 am


Last night, a huge explosion ripped through West, Texas, a small town near Waco, killing somewhere between five and 15 people and injuring hundreds. While criminal activity hasn’t been ruled out, the New York Times has reported that the fire began at a fertilizer plant (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/us/huge-blast-at-texas-fertilizer-plant.html):

It began with a smaller fire at the plant, West Fertilizer, just off Interstate 35, about 20 miles north of Waco that was attended by local volunteer firefighters, said United States Representative Bill Flores. “The fire spread and hit some of these tanks that contain chemicals to treat the fertilizer,” Mr. Flores said, “and there was an explosion which caused wide damage.”

It’s impossible to know at this point whether unsafe workplace conditions were a direct cause of this disaster, but we do know that it was cited for failing to obtain or qualify for a permit (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/texas-fertilizer-plant-cited_n_3107094.html) in 2006 after a complaint of a strong ammonia smell, a smell that was reported to be “very bad last night.” The plant hasn’t been inspected in the past five years (https://twitter.com/lhfang/status/324772541233262592), and in fact only six Texas fertilizer plants were inspected in that time. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is chronically understaffed, which means that a given plant like West Fertilizer can only expect to get a state inspection once every 67 years on average (http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/7254/).

With this kind of neglect, worker safety is in serious condition. More than 4,500 people were killed at work in 2010 (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/21/487563/workers-die-iraq/), up three percent from the previous year, meaning that more American workers died on the job in one year than died during the entire Iraq war. This doesn’t even count the others who might suffer from dangerous workplace conditions like those residents of West injured in the blast who didn’t work at the plant.

While OSHA has been a good deal more effective than it was during the Bush years (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2008/12/29/172527/osha-asleep/), it still suffers from a lack of funding and staff. Worse, it’s slated to take a huge cut under the sequester. The agency will have to cut its $564.8 million budget by 8.2 percent (http://info.emilcott.com/ehswire-blog/bid/272939/How-Will-The-Sequester-Cuts-Affect-OSHA), which the White House predicted would mean 1,200 fewer workplace inspections (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/08/fact-sheet-examples-how-sequester-would-impact-middle-class-families-job). And it would be even more hobbled if House Republicans get their way. The party’s 2011 budget, which was little changed in the most recent iteration, sought to reduce OSHA’s budget by $99 million (http://www.npr.org/2011/03/01/134177079/GOP-Looks-To-Make-Cuts-At-OSHA) while slashing other workplace protection agencies (http://www.americanprogressaction.org/issues/budget/news/2011/10/12/10528/house-budget-bill-guts-worker-protections-2/).

04-20-2013, 01:41 PM
Texas Fertilizer Plant Failed To Disclose Massive Amount Of Ammonium Nitrate



The West, Texas fertilizer plant where a powerful explosion killed at least 14 and injured dozens on Wednesday failed to disclose a massive ammount of ammonium nitrate ordinarily regulated by federal officials, according to Reuters (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/20/us-usa-explosion-regulation-idUSBRE93J09N20130420).

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires fertilizer plants and depots to disclose amounts of ammonium nitrate, which can be used to make a bomb, above 400 lbs. The West, Texas plant, West Fertilizer, reportedly held 270 tons of the substance, 1,350 times that limit.

"This facility was known to have chemicals well above the threshold amount to be regulated under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act (CFATS), yet we understand that DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up," Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) said in a statement, according to Reuters.

04-20-2013, 04:21 PM
Not only that, but they allso stored the stuff in a pressure cooker.
And who woz it that approoved the four ball-bearing faktrys sited around the fertilizer faktry.

Gayle in MD
04-22-2013, 10:39 AM
And all of those Republican Representaties from Texas are the same ones who voted against helping the NJ and NY victims of hurricane Sandy.

As usual, IIARIOK.

04-22-2013, 08:44 PM
And all of those Republican Representaties from Texas are the same ones who voted against helping the NJ and NY victims of hurricane Sandy.

As usual, IIARIOK.

Oh yeah, they were all carrying on about moochers and pork and they all voted against it. Chris Christie was absolutely crucified for putting the needs of his constituents first, and working with Pres. Obama to help the affected areas rebuild.

Now, those same Texas "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" GOP'ers have a massive explosion at a PRIVATE facility which goes off with about the same force as a small nuclear tactical warhead. Half or more of the surrounding town is flattened and many other homes are on fire. The blast is felt 60 miles away. A musroom cloud rises way up into the sky.

The plant had not been inspected since 1985.

They were storing more than 1350 times the allowable quantity of a particularly nasty explosive.

Now, the Texas GOP need their Uncle Sam to pay for an entirely avoidable man made disaster that is the direct result of a lack of regulatory oversight, frequent inspections, and hefty fines or jail time for offenders.

So they go to Obama hat in hand asking for Federal money to rebuild the plant and housing for the townsfolk. They needn't worry, we're liberals we don't mind helping others.