Massive Explosion Rips Through Texas Chemical Plant
November 27, 20192:51 PM ET
The explosion is the latest in a string of industrial incidents in the region. The Houston area saw three fires at chemical facilities in a month-long span in March and April — including an explosion at the KMCO plant in Crosby that killed a worker, as Houston Public Media’s Florian Martin reported. In July, more than 30 people were treated for minor injuries after a fire at an Exxon Mobil refinery in Baytown.
“Within the last year, I have witnessed an unacceptable trend of significant incidents impacting the Gulf Coast region,” Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Executive Director Toby Baker said in a statement.
A search of Texas Commission on Environmental Quality records shows that this year, TPC Group has been ordered to pay more than $378,000 in fines over multiple environmental violations at two facilities, in Port Neches and in Houston.
A week ago, the Trump administration formally changed Obama-era safety rules regulating how companies store dangerous chemicals. “Under the Obama-era rules, businesses were required to notify nearby communities about certain chemicals, follow best practices and get a third-party audit if an accident happens,” KUT’s Mose Buchele reported for NPR.
“But the Trump administration says those rules are burdensome and raise security concerns.”