Senate to hold hearing on West Fertilizer, Williams Olefins blasts

20 June 2013 23:08  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Representatives of US Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-California) on Thursday confirmed that a hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the deadly West Fertilizer and Williams Olefins explosions will take place on 27 June.

The Senate hearing will recount the 17 April disaster in West, Texas, that left 15 people dead and caused an estimated $100m (€75m) in damage to the small community after ammonium nitrate exploded at the distribution facility.

In addition to the fertilizer blast, the review will take a look at the 13 June explosion and fire at the Williams Olefins plant in Geismar, Louisiana, which resulted in two fatalities and more than 70 people injured.

Boxer, chairperson of the Senate committee, said the recent incidents highlight the need to examine the country’s rules and regulations regarding the storage and handling of dangerous and potentially volatile chemicals. Reports from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will be presented as part of the evidence.

“I honestly haven’t sat down to analyze every single thing the EPA and chemical board said. This is going to be a time for all of us to find out why they think this has happened,” Boxer said.

At this time the ATF and SFMO have not determined a final ruling for the incident at West Fertilizer explosion other than eliminating several possible causes. A report from the CSB is expected in the next 12-18 months.

The CSB is also taking part in the investigation into the Williams Olefins explosion.

($1 = €0.75)

 


By: Mark Milam



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