Aftershocks of the April 17, 2013, ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas, continue — including investigations by news organizations as well as state and federal agencies. A major multistate investigative project by the Associated Press could only get data for 28 of the 50 states, but within those states it found that more than 600,000 people live within a typical blast zone and more had family in schools and hospitals within one.
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An EPA initiative to protect American consumers from toxic chemicals, especially endocrine disruptors, has run into a brick wall put up by the Obama White House three years ago due to secret urging of the chemical industry — even though the law requires information and arguments on which federal regulations are based to be open and on the record.
Explosions from ammonium nitrate fertilizer, like the one in West, Texas that killed 15 people in April 2013, are only one of many hazards posed to communities from dangerous materials under the purview of EPA and other agencies. Toxic inhalation hazards could kill tens of thousands of people if released in crowded areas. Here are several tools to help you find local facilities that handle toxic, explosive, flammable, corrosive, and otherwise hazardous materials.
We told you so. But now a Harvard study also says it: the FracFocus registry designed and operated by the drilling industry (and its close friends) fails to meet the public's right to accountability and complete disclosure of chemicals pumped into underground formations that may impact people's drinking-water wells.
News stories about the April 17, 2013, explosion of a fertilizer storage plant in the town of West, Texas that killed 15 people have so far focused on the plant operator's risk-disclosure failure, instead of the likely fact that government agencies knew the nature and magnitude of the hazard — or should have known. The bigger story is the regulatory failure — and industry's decades-long campaign to keep the public ignorant of the threats they face. Photo: AP/LM Otero/Available through Creative Commons.Topics on the Beat:Region:
Find a rich collection of online resources courtesy of the National Library of Medicine and others, compiled by SEJ member and NLM technical information specialist Philip Wexler.SEJ Publication Types:
Francesca Lyman asks "What does Hurricane Sandy tell us about coping with human health and consequences of climate change?"SEJ Publication Types:Topics on the Beat:
A leaked draft of the replacement rule suggested Interior would leave handling of fracking data to the industry-run "FracFocus" project, which has come under criticism by environmental and watchdog groups for being hard to use and incomplete.
EPA had already released preliminary TRI data for the latest available year (2011), but its National Analysis makes for easier reporting as data is collated by state. It also offers analyses by industry sector and of toxics handling by collating the parent companies of each facility nationwide.