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Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:04 AM

Homeland Security Regulations and the Texas Nitrate Explosion

(Reuters) - The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.

Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.

A U.S. congressman and several safety experts called into question on Friday whether incomplete disclosure or regulatory gridlock may have contributed to the disaster.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/20/us-usa-explosion-regulation-idUSBRE93J09N20130420

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Arrow 22 replies Author Time Post
Reply Homeland Security Regulations and the Texas Nitrate Explosion (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter Apr 2013 OP
LonePirate Apr 2013 #1
russspeakeasy Apr 2013 #4
BlueToTheBone Apr 2013 #7
bvar22 Apr 2013 #14
indepat Apr 2013 #22
KittyWampus Apr 2013 #19
emulatorloo Apr 2013 #2
dballance Apr 2013 #3
Cleita Apr 2013 #5
Ichingcarpenter Apr 2013 #9
Cleita Apr 2013 #15
Ichingcarpenter Apr 2013 #17
Cleita Apr 2013 #18
KittyWampus Apr 2013 #21
KittyWampus Apr 2013 #20
LiberalEsto Apr 2013 #6
1KansasDem Apr 2013 #8
Ichingcarpenter Apr 2013 #10
1KansasDem Apr 2013 #13
gopiscrap Apr 2013 #11
northoftheborder Apr 2013 #12
ljm2002 Apr 2013 #16

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:11 AM

1. I'm expecting a bankruptcy filing by the parent company before any wrongful death suits are filed

This explosion was caused by all sorts of negligence on the corporate side of the ledger.

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Response to LonePirate (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:23 AM

4. +1

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Response to LonePirate (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:30 AM

7. Then I hope they sue him personally. n/t

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Response to LonePirate (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:20 PM

14. Not just "negligence on the corporate side of the ledger",

...but negligence on the part of our government to provide oversight,
and enforce regulations.

Thank You, Ronald Reagan, and every president since Reagan (Republican & Democrat),
for the systematic defunding and dismantling of our Government Oversight Agencies.

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Response to bvar22 (Reply #14)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 02:24 PM

22. The tragedy in West, Texas, is a price a right-wing society willingly pays for the joys of living in

a society not much burdened with governmental regulation, intrusion, and oversight. The capitalists in America must be free to rake in and retain most of their profits, paying little taxes, and the losses they create through negligence, greed, and destruction of the environment will be socialized. The stark fruits of this laizze-faire approach to governance abound for all of us to see.

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Response to LonePirate (Reply #1)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:46 PM

19. Good point, let's find out the name of the corporate executives who made decisions

 

at that plant.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:15 AM

2. Thanks for posting this. Republican rule in action.

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Response to emulatorloo (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:20 AM

3. It Truly Is GOP Rule In Action - Starve The Beast

 

The plant hadn't been inspected for far too long. This obviously creates a sense of security that they won't be caught if they do something they shouldn't. This is because there are not enough inspectors. Why? Because when the GOP can't kill the regulations they starve the agencies tasked with enforcing the regulations of funds. This ensures just what happened in West. No money to employ enough inspectors means no inspections. Just as effective as killing the regulations all together.

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Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:27 AM

5. Some expert said that

OSHA is stretched so thin that very few workplaces ever get inspected for violations.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #5)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:50 AM

9. OSHA is part of Dept of Labor

not Homeland Security.

Just to make that clear so this is a separate inspection by Homeland security.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #9)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:26 PM

15. I know that. I was just mentioning it because if OSHA had been there to

inspect labor violations, I believe the safety of the whole facility would have been better. Also, they may have notified HS about potential danger. I also think that HS must be strapped for inspectors too with all this austerity policy the Repubs are imposing on is.

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Response to Cleita (Reply #15)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:34 PM

17. They had EPA violations too

further down in the article. which gets into who does what with this shit to make sure its safe.

BTW.. not on your case
wanted to point out the jurisdiction knowledge for our lay readers.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #17)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:43 PM

18. The EPA violations were about ten years ago too, if I remember what I read 2003, I

believe. It seems there has been no inspection since then.

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Response to dballance (Reply #3)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:48 PM

21. even if there were inspections, they end up getting fined and paying it as part of doing business.

 

I think they were fined before and paid a whopping 30 bucks.

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Response to emulatorloo (Reply #2)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:47 PM

20. A lot like China, isn't it?

 

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:29 AM

6. "regulatory gridlock"

 



Oh those wacky Rethuglicans!

Always ready to blame their own stupidity and greed on excessive regulation, big government, the Federal Deficit, Social Security or whichever of their other false boogeymen fits the bill.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:49 AM

8. DHS requires reporting of 400 or more pounds of ammonium nitrate.

Sorry, that's a ridiculous regulation. I'll bet 70-80% of farmers have 10 times that amount in a shed at one time or another.
Ammonium nitrate is so common at COOP's in rural area's that no one thought a thing of Tim McVey buying a couple thousand pounds of it at my local COOP.

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Response to 1KansasDem (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:53 AM

10. the plant had 270 tons not pounds

unreported so what do you think the limit should be?

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Reply #10)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:04 PM

13. I'm not defending the lack of reporting to the DHS.

270 tons was reported to the state.
My beef is the 400 lb barrier FOR reporting to DHS.
Whoever came up with that small amount has no understanding of the use of this product in rural america.
Would you scoff at a regulation requiring the reporting of the storage of 10 gallons or more of
gasoline??

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 11:55 AM

11. They owner probably had his head so far up Bush's ass!

Texas being run by a bunch greedy repukes and business types probably doesn't give a shit that this happened....it will happen again unless there are serious penalties and huge oversight. But that takes everyone bitching and omaning about it til something happens!

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:02 PM

12. I read in Austin paper about the owner of this plant....

....he is elder in his church, and otherwise worthy citizen who has contributed much to his town. This does NOT, in my opinion, justify any omission, either by accident or on purpose, of rules of safety and reporting necessary in this type of plant. There definitely needs to be a good thorough inspection of this whole facility and it's operation by the feds. (not state regiulators).

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Sat Apr 20, 2013, 12:29 PM

16. Whether or not the incomplete disclosure contributed...

...to the disaster, it was certainly criminal.

I await charges against company officials.

(not holding my breath though)

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