Report: Basically Nothing has Changed Since West Fertilizer Blew Up

Report: Basically Nothing has Changed Since West Fertilizer Blew Up

"After the West Fertilizer Plant explosion on April 17, 2013, there were many promises to change things, to ensure that something so horrific would never happen again, to alter our rules and our systems so that dangerous chemicals like ammonium nitrate would be properly stored and squirreled away only in places where the stuff could do as little harm as possible.

President Barack Obama issued an executive order on improving chemical safety and storage, while every local, state and federal agency that could conceivably come up with a reason to be there conducted an investigation into the mess.  

Now, almost three years after the explosion that killed 15 people, injured more than 250 and flattened half a town, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board has come out with its final report on the matter. And its findings, based on almost three years of work, indicate that in the aftermath of West, nothing much has changed. The final report is a 265-page tome dedicated to those killed by the blast. 

The CSB is strictly an investigatory agency — CSB officials don't have the ability to issue fines or cite companies for regulatory infractions or anything like that — which is why the CSB investigators usually get incredible access to the sites of these horrific disasters when they occur. (As we've pointed out recently, it's never a question of if such things will happen but rather where and when.) While the CSB initially had a hard time gaining access to the West Fertilizer Plant explosion site, the investigators ultimately dug in and got the job done."

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