Senate Pushes For EPA Action On Explosive Fertilizer Chemicals

The demand came at a contentious hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. The committee is investigating the explosion at the West Fertilizer Company that killed fifteen people.

Sen. Barbara Boxer, chairwoman of the committee, slammed a witness representing the EPA, after the witness said the agency needed more time to formulate new safety regulations for fertilizer chemicals.

“I am sympathetic to the fact that there’s work to be done. I am unsympathetic to the attitude that I hear, which is a lack of urgency, ’cause lives are being lost, and recommendations were made a long time ago, and nothing’s happening.”

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board, one of several federal agencies investigating the incident, says the EPA failed to implement recommendations from 2002 that would have expanded its list of regulated chemicals to include the ammonium nitrate responsible for the blast in West.

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