EPA to Rescind Flammable Chemical Regulations Crafted After 2013 Explosion

A deadly explosion in West, Texas spurred the Obama administration to update regulations to the chemical industry.
May 23, 2018, 1pm PDT | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Rob Crandall

A 2013 fire in a West, Texas chemical plant killed 15, including 12 volunteer fire fighters, and led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to approve new regulations for the industry. "Twenty minutes after the fire started, the plant exploded — so powerfully that it registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake on the Richter scale," Meagan Flynn writes for The Washington Post.

After the 2013 tragedy the U.S. EPA took action: "The fatal blast prompted the Environmental Protection Agency to make serious changes to regulations about how companies store dangerous flammable chemicals and how they develop risk-management plans," Flynn reports.

Now those regulations are on the chopping block. EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt argues that eliminating rules around safe handling of flammable chemicals will save the industry $88 million. "The bulk of the claimed savings would come from getting rid of a rule requiring owners of a chemical plant to evaluate options for safer technology and procedures that would mitigate hazards," Flynn reports.

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Published on Friday, May 18, 2018 in The Washington Post
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