West Explosion

Shane Torgerson / Wikimedia Commons

AUSTIN — The first proposal to tighten chemical storage regulations in the two years since the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people has passed the Legislature’s lower chamber.

Clearing the Texas House on Friday via voice vote, the bill would strengthen rules for storing ammonium nitrate — a common but highly flammable ingredient in fertilizer. It must still pass the state Senate.

The bill establishes procedures for fire prevention at ammonium nitrate storage facilities, and requires facilities to report hazardous chemicals to state environmental authorities.

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The recent decision by Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop making the locations of Tier Two chemicals public has a lot of people talking.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott explained his opinion on why the state should not disclose sensitive information about chemical plants like the one in the city of West, Texas that exploded one year ago.

In a legal opinion released this week, Abbott said the state should withhold the addresses and list of substances at chemical plants storing dangerous chemicals. While the state will not provide this information openly, Abbott said the public still has the ability to get the information themselves.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

After a year of investigating the lead up to the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, Texas, one state lawmaker announced his intention to author a bill to make such chemical facilities safer.

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, chairman of the Texas House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, made the announcement during a committee hearing Tuesday.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

It has been one year since the fertilizer plant explosion that leveled several school campuses in the North Texas town of West and administrators are still recovering.    

West Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jan Hungate said the plant explosion destroyed three campuses, so for now an entire school system is using portable buildings.