Arkema Chemical Plant Explosion Shows Downsides to EPA Cuts

Read the full story at Triple Pundit.

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) has a few probing questions for Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt these days. And with the recent explosion at the Crosby, Tex. Arkema plant, it seems that list is getting much longer.

Last week, while Hurricane Harvey was pummeling the Texas coast, the Arkema chemical plant, which stores volatile substances like organic peroxides under refrigeration, lost power. Although the cause of the explosion is still being determined, there’s been some question as to whether the plant was up to date on its risk assessment protocol and whether it should have had a back up system in place to ensure the chemicals didn’t lose refrigeration.

Worse, is the fact that nearly a week later, authorities still do not have a complete list of the chemicals that are on site, or what the concoction of fumes was that police officers were inhaling when they arrived at the explosion. Fifteen officers were subsequently sent to the hospital for inhaling toxic fumes.

Carper, who has been fairly critical of Pruitt’s plan to downsize the EPA’s role in regulating industries like chemical manufacturing plants, had investigators quickly assess what backup procedures were in place when the power went down. Carper is one of the top Democrats of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, which has direct oversight for the EPA.

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