Final Report: West Blast Preventable

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board is out with it’s final report on the explosion that tore apart the community of West, Texas in 2013–and it concludes the disaster didn’t have to happen.

Specifically, the report finds there are too many gaps in federal, state, and local standards on the storage of ammonium nitrate used in fertilizer.

“These gaps include a lack of adequate federal, state, or local oversight on the storage and handling of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate, and the use of combustible wooden bins and buildings” said the Board’s Vanessa Allen Sutherland.

The explosion–which registered a 2.1 on the Richter Scale–killed 15 people and injured hundreds more.

The Board could vote as soon as Thursday Night on toughening the standards for storing ammonium nitrate.

“There is no doubt that West is not alone–and other communities should act to determine what hazards might exist in proximity to populated areas” said Lead Investigator Johnnie Banks, pointing to the Board’s concluding about five tons of the compound is currently stored at dozens of plants around Texas.

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