EPA delayed chemical safety rule after industry complaints
Updated: September 01, 2017 06:00AM UTC
Matthew Daly, Associated Press
Date: Thursday, August 31, 2017
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration delayed an Obama-era rule that would have tightened safety requirements for companies that store large quantities of dangerous chemicals such as the chemical plant near Houston that exploded early Thursday.
The Environmental Protection Agency rule would have required chemical plants, including the now-destroyed Arkema Inc., plant outside Houston, to make public the types and quantities of chemicals stored on site. The rule was developed after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded in 2013, killing 15 people.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt prevented the safety rule from taking effect until 2019 to allow the agency time to reconsider industry objections. Chemical companies, including Arkema, said the rule could make it easier for terrorists and other criminals to target refineries, chemical plants and other facilities.
Environmental groups and 11 states are fighting the delay in court.
Arkema has not released a full list of chemicals stored at the plant, although officials said the substances that caught fire were organic peroxides, a family of volatile compounds used for making a variety of products, including pharmaceuticals and construction materials.