Tom McGarity, “West blast victims need more than lip service from state” (Houston Chronicle)

The Houston Chronicle published an Op-Ed from professor Tom McGarity on the need for Texas legislators to ensure public safety with new regulations after a massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14, injured 226 and leveled nearby homes in the community of West almost exactly one year ago.

In it, McGarity argues that although the Chemical Safety Board “concluded that both he fire and the resulting explosion were ‘preventable[,]’ … “Texas has no Occupational Safety and Health Administration to promulgate protective standards and inspect workplaces for occupational hazards.”

“What we need is a thorough investigation into the authority of TCEQ to regulate the storage and use of highly toxic and reactive chemicals, legislation granting the agency sufficient power to force companies to that store and use such chemicals to take proper precautions and to make surrounding communities (and especially fire department personnel) aware of the risks posed by such chemicals and an appropriation of sufficient funds to do the job,” McGarity recommends.