Chemical Plant Explosion Revives Fight Over Shelved Safety Regulations

"Police and firefighters responding to an explosion at a flooded Arkema chemical plant in Texas would have known more about the facility’s risks under an updated chemical safety rule shelved by the Trump administration, critics contend.

Updates to the Environmental Protection Agency’s risk management program would have required coordination between chemical facilities and local responders prior to an emergency. Despite more than 24 hours’ notice from Arkema SA that the Crosby, Texas, plant, was likely to explode, 15 Harris County sheriff’s deputies had to be treated at a local hospital after inhaling fumes from the plant after a series of explosions that began early Aug. 31.

The goal of the updated chemical safety regulation is for local responders to “know the particular risk involved at this particular plant and take the precautions to prevent this precise type of injury,” Mathy Stanislaus, former assistant administrator for land and emergency management at the EPA during the Obama administration, told Bloomberg BNA Aug. 31. "

Sam Pearson reports for Bloomberg BNA August 31, 2017.


"Crosby Arkema Plant Has History Of Recent Violations" (KPRC Houston 2)

"Texas Chemical Plant That Caught Fire After Hurricane Harvey: How Republicans Helped It Delay New Safety Rules" (Newsweek)

"In Texas Chemical-Plant Fire, Failure Of Backup Measures Raises New Fears" (Washington Post)

"Plant Explosions, Spills Test Industry’s Response to Harvey" (AP)

"Burning Texas Plant Was Just Fined for Mishandling ‘Explosive Chemicals’" (Daily Beast)

Editorial: "The Disaster In Crosby Is Purely Man-Made" (Houston Chronicle)

"Chemical Breakdown" (Houston Chronicle)

"The Smoke from Hurricane Harvey: Looking Beyond the Crosby Chemical-Plant Explosion" (New Yorker)

"Koch-Funded Texas Gubernatorial Candidate Limits Public Chemical Disclosure After Deadly Explosion" (Think Progress: 6/9/2014)

"Texas’ Abbott: ‘Drive Around’ To Look For Dangerous Chemicals" (MSNBC)

"We Can’t Be Sure What Chemicals Are In The Texas Plant That Exploded" (Vice News)

"Abbott: Ask Chemical Plants What's Inside" (Texas Tribune: 7/1/2014)

"In Deregulation Nation, The People Know Less" (Greensboro News & Record)

Source: BNA, 09/01/2017