"Regulation of Chemical Industry Is Haphazard, Ineffective"

"WASHINGTON -- Eighteen years after a domestic terrorist murdered 168 people in Oklahoma City with an ammonia nitrate bomb, the federal government and the chemical industry are still jockeying over how to regulate a volatile and plentiful fertilizer that contributed to the devastating plant explosion in West.

At least five federal agencies enforce a patchwork of overlapping and sometimes conflicting regulation of chemical plants. The system is reliant on voluntary reporting by industry, and by nature is largely reactive to complaints or catastrophes.

Historically, industrial accidents have provoked narrowly targeted changes in federal laws or regulations, but not the comprehensive overhaul favored by safety activists and opposed by industry.

Chemical-industry lobbying on Capitol Hill has slowed and dispersed regulatory oversight across various federal agencies that often don't share plant-by-plant information."

Stewart M. Powell and Charles J. Lewis report for Hearst Newspapers April 27, 2013.

SEE ALSO:

"Will the "Koch Brothers Bill" Make Industrial Accidents More Likely?" (Mother Jones)

"Could Regulators Have Prevented the Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion? " (Salon)

"Why Was the Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion So Deadly?" (Scientific American)

"Texas Fertilizer Plant Fell Through Regulatory Cracks" (New York Times)

"Why Didn't Regulators Prevent the Texas Fertilizer Explosion?" (Scientific American/ProPublica)

"Records: Texas Plant Hadn't Told Feds About Explosive Fertilizer" (CNN)

"Lawmakers Want a Deep Look at Hazardous Sites" (Houston Chronicle)

"After West Fertilizer Explosion, Concerns Over Safety, Regulation and Zoning" (NPR/StateImpact Texas)

"Deadly Explosion Prompts Fresh Look at Regulation" (Wall St. Journal)

Monday, April 29, 2013