Texas Legislators Introduce 4 Bills Inspired by West Blast

Plant Explosion-Texas

April 17 marks two years since a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others.

With the anniversary date on the horizon, there's an effort by legislators at the capitol building in Austin to make sure something like that never happens again.

Four bills currently in committees would strengthen regulations for ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer compound that ignited and leveled homes and schools near the plant, that would ideally reduce the risks associated with storage of the material.

  • House Bill 942, written by Rep. Kyle J. Kacal (R-College Station), relates "to the storage of certain hazardous chemicals; transferring enforcement of certain reporting requirements, including the imposition of criminal, civil, and administrative penalties, from the Department of State Health Services to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
  • House Bill 417, authored by Rep. Joe C. Pickett (D-El Paso), relates "to information regarding the storage of certain hazardous chemicals; providing penalties.
  • House Bill 2470, authored by Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin), relates "to liability insurance for ammonium nitrate operations; creating a criminal offense.
  • House Bill 3810, authored by Rep. Armando Walle (D-Houston), relates "to an alert system for notification of the release of toxic chemicals by a manufacturing facility."

As of Wednesday, the four bills are being considered by Texas House committees.

The 84th legislative session ends June 1.

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