Chemical plantsObama orders safety and security review of chemical plants

Published 2 August 2013

EPA data show there are 470 U.S. chemical facilities that put at least 100,000 people at risk in the event of a poison gas release. According to the American Chemistry Council, there are 13,796 chemical facilities in the country. The Fertilizer Institute counts about 6,000 fertilizer distributors around the country like the one that exploded 17 April. President Obama has ordered a government review of safety and security procedures at chemical plants in the United States.

President Obama has ordered a government review of safety and security procedures at chemical plants in the United States.

The Washington Post reports the order was delivered on Thursday in response to the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant in Texas earlier this year.

The April explosion killed fifteen people and destroyed more than 150 buildings, including the town’s four schools.

The explosion is currently still under investigation, but a report to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last month revealed decades-old safety standards which are much weaker than those in other countries.

EPA data show there are 470 U.S. chemical facilities that put at least 100,000 people at risk in the event of a poison gas release. According to the American Chemistry Council, there are 13,796 chemical facilities in the country. The Fertilizer Institute counts about 6,000 fertilizer distributors around the country like the one that exploded 17 April.

The president‘s executive order calls for the launch of a program within the next forty-five days, in an effort to improve collaboration on chemical safety and security.

The president also wants an “a unified federal approach for identifying and responding to risks in chemical facilities,” by next spring.

DHS, the Department of Labor, and the Environmental Protection Agency will work with state and local  agencies to improve coordination and information sharing as well as update regulations. The federal agencies will also have to develop new regulations in ninety days

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