Thursday, April 18, 2013

Exploding the myth of over-regulated industry

By now you've heard about the horrible explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas. We don't know what caused it yet, but deliberate sabotage is rarely the cause of these things. It's a pretty safe guess it had to do with shoddy plant maintenance and/or cheating on safety practices. Not that the company will ever admit to it. In fact, they assured the people of West, this couldn't possibly happen.
The fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in West, Texas, reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, documents show. [...]

[T]he report, reviewed Wednesday night by The Dallas Morning News, stated “no” under fire or explosive risks. The worst possible scenario, the report said, would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.

The second worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, again causing no injuries.
The company claims to have "implemented proper safety rules," but who know if that's true. The plant hasn't been inspected in the last five years. And chances are if it hadn't blown up, it might never be inspected for decades:
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.
And of course, under the sequester cuts OSHA's funding will be slashed further. OSHA is one of the cons favorite punching bags. They love to talk about the stupid safety rules that interfere with the free market and corporate profits. We should just trust Big Business to police itself, because we can't afford to keep spending tax dollars to make sure they're not cutting corners on safety measures that might result in killing people. Besides, they need that money to pay off the politicians --er, I mean to create jobs -- you know.

Useful to remember when Republicans tell you they want to shrink government, they mean they are going to sell you out to the highest private bidder. [photo via Mother Jones]

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

Any regulation whatsoever is too much for the true believer. It's one of the reasons they move to third world countries that are happy to have any industry regardless of the risk -- or at least local officials are willing to accept it on behalf of the starving populace (for consideration received, naturally)

Remember Bhopal?
Remember that oil rig that blew up killing so many people just to save a buck? Safety is a COMMUNIST plot, you know - as long as it's our safety, that is. Safety of profits is quite another thing.

Horrific events like the Triangle Shirtwaist fire stirred the nation enough to put some limits on the inhuman conservatism of industry,once upon a time, but it can't happen any more what with modern technology and the ability to manufacture truth the way we make cars and bars of soap.

People are just a cheap commodity - a fungible resource easily replaced and while we simper and whine and baby-talk about "people shouldn't hurt people" and look for 'healing' like the terrified sheep we are, this cold, heartless treatment of our people goes on and on as "conservative teachers" cover it up with lies and distractions. Hear them squeal.

11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

There was a time I thought we solved this, back in 60s. Now it seems like we're in this weird time loop and everything is going backwards.

1:56:00 PM  

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