Sunday, May 05, 2013

Deep in the broken heart of Texas

Looks like the residents of West, Texas won't recover damages from the explosion of the fertilizer plant.
The West Fertilizer Co., scene of an explosion last month that killed 15 people and injured 200, carried only $1 million in liability insurance.

Property damage alone in West could reach $100 million, according to the Insurance Council of Texas, an industry association. ...

Fertilizer facilities like the one in West are not required to have liability insurance that would compensate for damage they might cause, state insurance officials say, even if hazardous material is on hand.
Make that even if there hundreds of tons of hazardous and potentially explosive material on hand. The plant was storing 270 tons of ammonium nitrate. They were supposed to report anything over 400 pounds to DHS because it can be used to make bombs like McVeigh did in Oklahoma. They failed to report it.

Even more disturbing, they're are almost 7000 chemical facilities that pose a greater danger than the West fertilizer plant. The West facility wasn't even on the list because of their failure to report. And how is this possible, you ask?
Texas lawmakers have also recently sought to weaken the state environmental agency that oversaw the West plant and reduced its budget by $305 million. Governor Rick Perry (R) has also indicated that he isn’t interested in new safety regulations. Meanwhile, members have Congress have recently worked to advance a bill that would weaken the EPA’s powers to regulate major chemical plants.
West Fertilizer didn't make the chemicals. They're just a storage facility. A symptom of dereg, not the cause. The big money is the production. The real danger is coming from the manufacturers and their deep pocket lobbyists.

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Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I look at it this way, the more such things that occur, the more the fear. The more fear the better it is for people who use the fear to subjugate us and take away our rights in the name of preserving them.

Of course Rick might only be an asshole. I don't want to assume the intelligence it takes to plot and scheme. FWIW, I know some far right Texans who hate him. I hope his ammonium nitrate petards will blow him off the stage soon.

9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

The problem is bigger than Texas though. These time bombs are all over the country.

11:17:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

A scary thought. These bozos got away with not reporting until it went bang and maybe I should worry about who else is stockpiling nitrates and how scrupulous they are about whom they sell to.

9:16:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Surely is worth if there's a facility close to where you live. Though in your case, that seems unlikely.

8:57:00 AM  
Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

But you never know when they flaunt the laws requiring them to report stockpiling nitrates. Florida is an agricultural state and it wouldn't surprise me to find a scofflaw fertilizer plant here.

10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Imagine there are some in FL, but would guess not in your immediate neighborhood.

11:38:00 AM  

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