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West, Texas Relief
Tue June 18, 2013
Like Sex-Offender Registry, Dangerous Chemicals Website Would Pinpoint Plants
Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who is the chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, has asked that the State Marshall’s Office and Department of Public Safety work together to compile a website where people can identify dangerous chemical sites.
Col. Steve McCraw, who is with the Department of Public Safety, said currently there are 129 chemical plants in Texas that house dangerous chemicals, two just like the one in West.
He said the website would work much like the state’s sex offender registry, but for chemicals.
"You put in your zip code and you look and see what chemical plants might be in your neighborhood, might be in [your children's school's] neighborhood. And with the information that people can get with an open records request that should be available as well [as] what chemicals are at the facilities," McCraw said.
The other main focus of the hearing was how to respond to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster ruling.
Rep. Ron Simmons, R-Carrollton, suggested during the hearing that they send the FEMA a letter encouraging them to reconsider their decision and asking for a full explanation for why they denied aide to West.
The House committee approved Simmons' suggestion.
The group of lawmakers will meet again in two weeks to discuss the dangerous chemicals website and will continue to meet until next session or until they have a cause for the plant explosion.
Texas State Fire Marshall Chris Connealy said they don’t have an explanation for the plant’s fire that led to the explosion in West.
"So there’s a good, very good possibly that it will be never be determined," he said.
Connealy reasoned that there likely won't ever be a cause because much of the factory was lost during the explosion.
West, Texas Relief