Waves From Elk River Spill Splash On Houston Chemical Plants

A trio of Democratic senators is sponsoring a bill to toughen chemical safety standards. The legislation follows the January 9th chemical spill in West Virginia’s Elk River.

Under the bill, chemical plants would have to meet federal minimum guidelines on standards ranging from construction to emergency response plans. The standards themselves would be set and overseen by the states. Thomas Visco is with the Texas Public Interest Research Group.

“Houston leads the country in the number of high-risk facilities, and when we say high-risk facilities, we’re talking about the number of people that each facility puts at risk. Houston has over 40 high-risk facilities, including 20 that put at least 100,000 people at risk. There are even some facilities that put more than 1 million people at risk.”

The American Chemistry Council released a statement saying it has concerns about the legislation in its current form. But the trade group said it’s willing to work with the bill’s sponsors to address the basic issues raised by the Elk River chemical spill.

The spill contaminated the water supply of nine West Virginia counties, affecting more than three hundred thousand individuals. Freedom Industries, the company responsible for the spill, has since declared bankruptcy.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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