Friday, September 1, 2017

Republican Deregulation forces Houston area residents to Evacuate Homes near Chemical Plant!

"Regulation" is just another way of saying "protection," because that's what regulations are.

I hope Republican voters can now plainly see what can happens when "protections" are lifted at the request of industry lobbyists and special interests. As for their Republican representatives, corporate money will take precedent every time.

Exhibit A, proof Republicans can't govern without pockets full of special interest cash and a purely ideological agenda. I wonder what residents within a 1.5 mile radius of the plant who were told to evacuate thought of their abrupt change in living conditions short and long term. Guess they didn't contribute enough for Republicans to care:

The French company that says its Houston-area chemical plant is spewing "noxious" smoke — and may explode — successfully pressed federal regulators to delay new regulations designed to improve safety procedures at chemical plants, those rules — which would have taken effect on March 14 — were blocked by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, who as Oklahoma Attorney General demanded the rule be withdrawn. The move was a big win for the chemical industry that has spent more than $100 million supporting federal lawmakers since 2008. Among those who have received more than $100,000 from the industry are powerful Texas lawmakers including Sen. John Cornyn (R), Rep. Joe Barton (R), Rep. Pete Olson (R), Rep. Gene Green (D), Rep. Pete Sessions (R) and Rep. Kevin Brady (R).

Harris County ordered the evacuation of residents in a 1.5-mile radius of the plant that makes organic chemicals. Rowe said the company was "comfortable" with the size of the evacuation zone.

ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical, Koch Industries and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), a Saudi government-owned firm with multiple locations in the Houston area, including its North American headquarters, all lobbied on the legislation, which set the stage for Trump's administration to block the rules.

Richard Rowe, CEO of the North America unit, told reporters that chemicals on the site will catch fire and explode if they are not properly cooled, and that Arkema expects that to happen within the next six days as temperatures rise. He said the company has no way to prevent that because the plant is swamped by about six feet of water.

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