Fire and smoke erupted for a second time Friday evening at the Houston-area Arkema chemical plant, but what exactly is going up in flames appears to remain a mystery to the public still reeling from a trail of devastation left by Hurricane Harvey.
The company said in a statement that the new fire at the Crosby, Texas plant was the
Twitter user and news photographer Richard Guerra posted this showing the fire and black plumes of smoke:
A 1.5 mile evacuation zone remains around the perimeter of the plant, which local KHOU11 found, had 10 serious violations in an OSHA report from last year, nine of which regarded safety management of highly-hazardous chemicals.
As Common Dreams wrote, a fire already broke out at the plant on Thursday. As the company then warned, it said Friday that more explosions are likely on the way with six remaining chemical storage trailers still at risk as refrigeration systems are still damaged.
From the Associated Press:
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The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that Arkema
As International Business Times reported Friday, “Under both federal and state law, the firms can elect to disclose such information, or not to.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has the company’s so-called Tier II report, which contains the detained chemical information. But while they are technically public documents, “current laws and policies make them incredibly difficult to access,” the Texas Tribune reported, noting that
In addition, IBT reported,
A month after that letter, the EPA said it was pushing back implementation of that rule to 2019.
That was a decision, noted Genna Reed at the Union of Concerned Scientists, that
The effort to claw back the rule, separate reporting by IBT shows, “was backed by top Texas Republican lawmakers, who have received big campaign donations from chemical industry donors.”
President Donald Trump, for his part, is visiting parts of Harvey-damaged Texas and Louisiana. In Houston, CNN reported, “he touted the size of the crowd that greeted him outside a firehouse but failed to mention the storm’s victims, leaving critics and even some allies saying he failed to demonstrate the empathy and compassion presidents are expected to display during these visits.”