New rules created under President Obama following a 2013 Fertilizer Plant explosion that took the lives of 15 people, 12 of them first responders, has suffered a setback under the Trump Administration.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new chief, Scott Pruitt has delayed regulations set forth by Obama to help protect communities by forcing chemical plants to keep the residents and first responders better informed so they can prepare for accidents that may occur.
The Chemical Safety Board, an independent federal agency, who conducts investigations into chemical accidents found gaps in critical information needed by first responders in the West Texas fertilizer plant blast.
A CSB spokesperson, Hillary Cohen said understanding the facts are important in order for citizens to assess the risks involved from chemical plants.
“In the final analysis, facility employees, communities and first responders should have adequate information to understand the risks inherent in such facilities to ensure everyone’s safety,” Cohen said.
Meanwhile, on Monday an EPA statement made on the department’s website stated that “as an agency, we need to be responsive to concerns raised by stakeholders regarding regulations so facility owners and operators know what is expected of them, Pruitt wrote.
Shortly after a fire broke out at the fertilizer plant firefighters began evacuating people in the vicinity of the plant. Shortly after that an explosion occurred that leveled about 80 homes in a four-to-five block radius of the facility. It is apparent from the findings of the CSB, the people in the surrounding area and the firefighters were not equipped with the information necessary to respond in an adequate fashion; they simply were not ready for the violent explosion that occurred on that date.