State officials are reporting back to a group of House lawmakers about what Texas is doing to keep communities similar to West, Texas safe from another fertilizer plant explosion.
State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said his office has been conducting fire inspections of these types of facilities:
"We’ve done 62 inspections, thus far only five have said 'no,'" he said. "We still have about 140 to 153 facilities that we will finish up in October and then we will have this map created by November."
The governor’s office has announced the town of West will receive major disaster funding following an appeal of FEMA’s original decision to deny the town federal relief.
Early this summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced they would not be awarding the town of West major disaster relief following the massive fertilizer plant explosion that took out much of the area’s roads, schools and water system.
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.
Lawmakers at the state capitol are outraged by the decision of FEMA officials to deny the town of West continued federal assistance following the fertilizer plant explosion.
According to a report released by the Associated Press, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide West with the funds to help the town rebuild. In a letter from FEMA to state officials, the group has ruled that the plant explosion in West did not meet the criteria for a major disaster declaration.
Texas Matters: A new study by the RAND corporation is examining the economic costs of states who do not expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Also in this episode: Texas voter turnout hits last in the nation in 2010, and how recovery efforts are going in West, Texas.
Texas Matters: With the investigation into the West fertilizer plant explosion ongoing, the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee held a hearing to clarify who is responsible for reviewing these kinds of facilities. Also on this show: The chances that Ted Cruz makes a presidential run and the future of high-stakes testing in Texas.
Officials are still trying to pin down who is responsible for the explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, but national and state politicians attended a tribute to urge a national sense of community. Also on this show: The Geroge W. Bush Library was dedicated this week, which is bringing up conversation about the meaning of the former president's legacy. As Texas continues to cope with drought conditions, residents who depend on rivers like the San Saba are battling agriculture interests for water rights. The U.S. Supreme Court weighs in on the cross-border Texas-Oklahoma water war.
Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 4:15 pm
Only a railroad separated West’s intermediate school from the fertilizer plant that exploded last week. The blast destroyed that school -- and left three out of four West ISD campuses unusable. But many West students are going to finish the school year, just not in West.