“BREAKING: New Chemical Explosion Outside Houston
Trump EPA Weakened Clean Air Act Protections that Could Have Prevented Explosion
Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Houston, Texas — A KMCO chemical plant in Crosby, outside Houston, caught fire today. One plant worker has died, and two others are in critical condition. Reminiscent of the recent #ITCFire, a large black plume of toxic smoke is rising above the facility. KMCO has a long history  of environmental and workplace safety issues.
Officials have stated that the fire began because a transfer line ignited a tank of isobutylene. Leaking transfer lines are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Leaks should be identified and plugged as part of routine maintenance required by the Clean Air Act. Under the Trump administration, Clean Air Act protections have been weakened by EPA. New risk management and safety measures, known as the Chemical Disaster Rule , require polluting facilities to prepare for disasters and to coordinate with first responders. But when Trump took office, those rules were suspended.
In response, Sierra Club Gulf Coast Dirty Fuels Organizer Bryan Parras issued the following statement:
“Sadly, another chemical disaster has hit the Houston area. Harvey and the ITC Disaster have led to the loss of public trust in the regulatory bodies that are charged with protecting us. Today, we have lost a life and two remain in critical condition. Surely we can and should do better.
“The Houston Chronicle estimated in 2016 that a major chemical disaster takes place in Houston about every six weeks. But our situation has grown even more dire since Trump took office. Under his direction, EPA has rolled back or failed to enforce protections in the Clean Air Act that could have potentially prevented this disaster today by catching leaks before they ignite. EPA is tried to repeal the entire Chemical Disaster Rule that would require companies like KMCO to prepare for disasters and coordinate with local authorities.
“Our home is on fire and instead of helping, Trump is fanning the flames.”
About the Sierra Club
The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with more than 3.5 million members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person’s right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.
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