The video of the explosion in the city of West, Texas was shocking to watch.
But even more shocking may be the lack of oversight of a plant storing more explosive ammonium nitrate than they claimed.
Ammonium nitrate can feed humanity when it’s mixed in fertilizer.
The West Fertilizer Company was essentially destroyed last week in the shocking explosion of ammonium nitrate.
It’s used in fertilizer. It also is incredibly explosive as we learned in Texas City and Oklahoma City.
Because of that, the Department of Homeland Security requires anyone storing 400 pounds of the stuff or more, be inspected regularly for safety and security.
West Fertilizer said in 2012, they had 270 tons. That’s 1350 times the allowed amount.
We know that because the Reuters News agency found documents filed with the state of Texas. So why weren’t they shared with Homeland Security?
And why didn’t West Fertilizer report it to DHS?
And according to Dr. Sam Mannan of Texas A&M, the company’s last inspection was awhile back.
“There is no doubt about lack of regulatory inspections by agencies. In fact, there are reports that the last OSHA inspection was done in 1985, resulting in a fine of $30,” said Dr. Mannan.
Another issue is the city itself. Why did city planners allow a nursing home and school to be built near a potentially dangerous plant?
“Cities and states have an obligation to plan out how land is used,” Mannan says. “And it’s questionable to me as to how permissions were granted for nursing homes and schools and apartment buildings so close to this facility.”
It seems there were multiple failures that led to the West tragedy.
The company failed to report to Homeland Security, the state failed as well.
And the city showed a lack of foresight allowing building in a potential blast zone.