2013 Explosion In Texas That Killed 15 Prompted New Safety Rule For Storing Chemicals. The EPA Just Weakened It.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the decision to weaken the Obama-era rule has to do with fears that terrorists could use the information required by the stricter rule to create a roadmap of where dangerous chemicals are stored. However, his predecessor suspended the rule in his first month on the job because companies complained it was too much of a burden on them. Meanwhile, prosecution of polluters has fallen to a quarter-century low during the Trump administration.
The Washington Post:
Trump’s EPA Scales Back Obama Era Safety Rules Adopted After Deadly Chemical Explosion In West, Texas
The Environmental Protection Agency weakened a rule Thursday governing how companies store dangerous chemicals. The standards were enacted under President Barack Obama in the wake of a 2013 explosion in West, Tex., that killed 15 people, including 12 first responders. Under the new standards, companies will not have to provide public access to information about what kinds of chemicals are stored on their sites. (Eliperin, 11/21)
The Associated Press:
EPA Prosecutions Of Polluters Approach Quarter-Century Lows
Justice Department figures show criminal prosecution and convictions of polluters have fallen to quarter-century lows under the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency. The figures Thursday from a Syracuse University records-tracking program show the Justice Department filed 75 prosecutions, and secured 60 convictions, in EPA cases in the fiscal year ended this September. They are the lowest numbers since mid-1990. (Knickmeyer, 11/21)
And in more news on environmental health —
How New Cases Of Lung Damage Emerged In The U.S. Countertop Industry
Ublester Rodriguez could not have anticipated that his life would be profoundly changed by kitchen and bathroom countertops. He says that he grew up poor, in a small Mexican town, and came to the United States when he was 14. He spoke no English, but he immediately got a job. "In the beginning I was working in a Chinese restaurant, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. It was all day, so I never had time to go to school," he recalls. "I was a dishwasher." (Greenfieldboyce, 11/21)
New Hampshire Union Leader:
Employees Treated At Hospitals Following Chemical Incident In Merrimack Were Released Within An Hour
The 13 people who were transported to area hospitals following a chemical situation earlier this week at Spraying Systems Co. were quickly released, according to company officials. In a statement, Spraying Systems said the employees were transported as a precautionary measure where they were evaluated and released within an hour with no signs of exposure or other adverse health effects. Fire crews responded to Spraying Systems Co. Tuesday night to check the conditions at the site after employees received a package of powder from a vendor that “wasn’t labeled property,” fire officials said earlier. (Houghton, 11/21)