News / USA

US Lawmakers Call for Chemical Facilities Review After Texas Blast

The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas, Apr. 18, 2013.
The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas, Apr. 18, 2013.
Reuters
Democratic lawmakers are seeking a federal review of security at industrial chemical facilities after the deadly explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant in April. The blast killed 15 people and injured scores more.
    
U.S. Representative Henry Waxman of California, ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, his counterpart on the House Homeland Security Committee, asked President Barack Obama on Thursday to set up an expert commission to assess security risks at chemical plants, refineries and related facilities.
    
Those committees have jurisdiction over the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) program, a regulatory program for high-risk chemical facilities.
    
Waxman and Thompson cited a “distressing lack of progress” in securing such facilities since the program was established in 2007.
   
Recent reports by the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office, Congress' investigative arm, have also found that the program is failing.
    
Since the April blast, it has been determined that the facility in Texas had never submitted required documentation under the CFATS program. But Homeland Security took no action and was unaware that the West plant had chemicals of concern at levels above the regulation threshold, the lawmakers noted.
    
“We ask you to consider steps that can be taken in response to the explosion to reduce the security risks of chemical plants, refineries, water treatment facilities, and other facilities holding large stores of industrial chemicals,” the lawmakers wrote to Obama.
    
On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, head of the Environment and Public Works Committee, said she plans a hearing soon on the Texas disaster and will probe for gaps in the enforcement of chemical safety laws.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid