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.
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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:
The March 29, 2013, spill from ExxonMobil's Pegasus Pipeline near Mayflower, Arkansas is a big deal for several reasons. But the most important thing about the Mayflower spill may be that ExxonMobil and the federal agencies involved seem to be trying to keep news media from getting close enough to see what is going on. Read SEJ's letter protesting the media treatment, and EPA's response.Topics on the Beat:
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:
In this issue: Superstorm Sandy's hidden warning; analysis of pivotal enviro issues to watch; new frontiers in visual journalism; keeping up on chemical databases; members helping members: SEJ's mentoring program; media on the move; and book reviews.SEJ Publication Types:
A fatal November 30, 2012, collapse of part of a coal-slurry impoundment in West Virginia served as a reminder of safety issues that may not be adequately regulated in some states and localities. You can locate local coal-slurry impoundments and information on their status with an online public database.Region:
Referenced from "DHS and CDC Refuse To Give House Panel Docs on Failed BioWatch Program," SEJ WatchDog TipSheet, November 28, 2012.
After wasting billions of taxpayer dollars on a non-working program aimed at protecting the US public from biological attack, the Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control may be refusing to give documents on the program to House Energy Committee investigators.
Superstorm Sandy was a wake-up call on many levels — especially as a lesson on the need to be prepared for disasters. Here are some reporting tools that may come in handy.
Here are more Congressional Research Service reports relevant to the environment/energy beat, published by the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy.