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.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.
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.
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.