Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The West Fertilizer Co. explosion in West, Texas last week put an exclamation point on the need for government safety regulations and enforcement. The "free market" philosophy of no regulations and the mythical honor system imposed by the market place gets people killed.
This company appears to have pushed the envelope to see how much it could get away with -- and due to lax regulations and enforcement by "business friendly" Texas regulatory agencies, it got away with quite a lot.
There is plenty of blame to go around here, from the company, to state regulators, to the local planning & zoning board of West, Texas (assuming it had one).
The Dallas Morning News reports today, West Fertilizer Co.'s environmental compliance problems go back decades:
West Fertilizer Co.’s problems complying with Texas environmental rules go back decades, state records show.
In 1984, the company moved two large pressurized tanks of liquid anyhydrous ammonia, a potentially lethal poison, from a site in nearby Hill County to its current location in West without notifying state authorities.
Seven years passed before Texas regulators took notice and told the company to fix its paperwork. The tanks had sat at their new location, near homes, schools and a nursing home, with little or no state oversight for all that time.
The company’s regulatory history going back to 1976 comes to light as investigators seek the cause of last week’s fertilizer explosion that killed at least 14 people.