Senate Pushes For EPA Action On Explosive Fertilizer Chemicals

In the wake of the April fertilizer plant explosion in West, legislators are demanding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency immediately begin regulating potentially explosive fertilizer chemicals.


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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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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 Legislature and county and city governments across Greater Houston. Before taking up his current post, Andrew spent five years as Houston Public Media's business reporter, covering the oil...

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