Click this map to see where more than 400 chemical plants are located.
Five-15 people are reported dead and at least 160 injured after an explosion from a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, a town north of Waco. Our thoughts are with those impacted by this tragedy.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board has sent a large investigation team to the scene. The plant had 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia, a highly volatile gas used in making fertilizer. The town’s mayor said the explosion itself was like “a nuclear bomb,” and was picked up as a 2.1 magnitude tremor.
Have you heard that there is an election coming up? I guess people think it’s pretty important since it’s ALL anyone talks about, right?
Well, except for Hurricane Isaac, the start of the NFL preseason, Red Sox dumping four players (ok, I’m from New England, so that may just be my radar), hundreds being killed in Syria, and the Obama administration raising fuel economy standards. Wait, what was that last one? The Obama administration did something in August of an election year? I thought that wasn’t possible, I thought NOTHING got done in an election year? Hm, I feel a bit like the GPS in my friend’s car the other day: “recalculating…”
The fact is, new policies DO happen in an election year, and I was incredibly heartened to see that I’m not the only one who thinks so. Today, in the New York Times, Governor Christine Todd Whitman penned an articulate call to the Environmental Protection Agency to use its existing authority to prevent chemical disasters. The quote that grabbed me:
What would you do if 60,000 people asked you to do something?
I bet you would sit up and take notice.
Yesterday, in a meeting with White House staff, Greenpeace joined representatives from a coalition of over 100 organizations to deliver 60,833 signatures to the White House calling on President Obama to use his authority to prevent chemical disasters. Labor union representatives talked about the workers who would be the first to die in a poison gas release at a chemical facility. Environmental Justice leaders described the communities surrounding dangerous facilities who are next in line to suffer the results of a disaster, and who are most often communities of color and low-income communities. Health experts explained that hospitals would be overrun and incapable of responding the casualties of a poison gas catastrophe. Continue reading →
When was the last time you heard about Republicans and Democrats agreeing on something?
Last week the Center for Public Integrity reported that on April 3, Christine Todd Whitman, former Governor of New Jersey and Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under President George W. Bush sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging her to use Clean Air Act to prevent chemical disasters. Continue reading →
This country is littered with chemical plants and you’re likely close enough to one that stores or uses deadly chemicals, like chlorine gas, to be at risk of a catastrophe if something unexpected were to happen. Most people in the U.S. are. Continue reading →