The EPA’s Failure: Chemical Disasters

During the Obama Administration the EPA put a new Chemical Disaster Rule in place to strengthen chemical plants’ prevention and preparedness requirements for explosions and other catastrophes. The rule also required the order of better and more frequent coordination with first responders and improved community access to information about the chemical hazards they live next to.

In developing the rule, EPA determined that prior protections failed to prevent over 2,200 chemical fires, explosions, leaks, and similar incidents during a 10-year period, including about 150 per year that caused injuries.

In a give away to the petrochemical industry, the EPA, under the Trump Administration, overturned that safety rule.

UPHE joined numerous other environmental groups throughout the country in sending representatives to Washington DC to persuade the EPA not to overturn the rule. Nonetheless, the EPA denied our appeal and within days this disaster occurred in a petrochemical plant in Port Neches, Texas, just before Thanksgiving. The local community has been inundated with toxic smoke, filled with carcinogens, ever since. Read more about the incident here.

It matters a great deal who is making the rules and who is enforcing them. This Administration is endangering all of us by their wholesale withdrawal of every environmental protection they can get their hands on, even those that protect us from horrific industrial accidents like this.