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Response to KY_EnviroGuy (Original post)

Sat Jan 25, 2020, 02:50 PM

3. Trump EPA eases safety requirements enacted after West explosion

https://www.texastribune.org/2019/11/21/west-texas-fertilizer-explosion-spurred-safety-rules-trump-rescinding/

Trump EPA eases safety requirements enacted after West explosion
Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded the new rules, saying they would make Texans safer. The Obama-era regulation was meant to improve chemical safety practices and prevent tragedies like the deadly 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in the tiny Central Texas town of West.
by Kiah Collier | Nov. 21, 20193 PM

Days before President Barack Obama left office in 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule aimed at preventing tragedies like the 2013 explosion and fire in the tiny Central Texas town of West that killed a dozen first responders.

Among other requirements, what came to be known as the "Chemical Disaster Rule" would have made it easier for the public to access hazard-planning documents and required increased coordination with first responders. It also required companies to provide increased emergency planning information to local officials and to hold more frequent meetings and trainings.

On Thursday, the EPA which delayed implementation of the Obama rule after Trump took office announced it would largely unwind the regulation, which was widely unpopular in the chemical industry. Republican officials argued it was too burdensome and increased the risk of terror attacks as it required some divulgence by facilities regarding what dangerous chemicals they stored. Some first responder groups also argued the regulation is too complex, though in lawsuits filed after the West incident and other recent chemical plant explosions, first responders have argued that a lack of information impacted their ability to respond effectively.

An EPA fact sheet explains that the new regulations would rescind most of the public information availability provisions of the Obama-era rule and modify the emergency coordination and exercise provisions, as well as suspend all accident-prevention program provisions while EPA coordinates with other federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration on further regulations. The fact sheet also noted that an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms found that the West incident was due to arson.

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KY_EnviroGuy Jan 2020 OP
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