EPA: Dry Ammonium Nitrate Does Not Meet Current Criteria For Regulation

For the first time since the West fertilizer plant exploded last April killing 15 people, the EPA is responding to questions posed by Congress.

In a letter sent to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, D-CA, an assistant administrator at the agency reveals its criminal investigators are looking to see if the plant’s operator complied with all regulations. The letter also discusses why the EPA doesn’t regulate ammonium nitrate, the chemical that exploded at the West facility.

Damage from the explosion is considered to be among the worst in the nation. Now, much of the focus is how to keep this disaster from repeating itself.

CBS 11 recently caught up with Ron Curry, the director of the EPA’s regional office in Dallas, who told us, “We are going to work with all the agencies involved, both at the federal and state level to try to prevent something like this from happening.”

With that in mind, Senator Boxer and the Committee on Environment and Public Works she chairs, will hold a hearing June 27.

After the explosion, many people, including residents, the Mayor and state leaders acknowledged they never thought the ammonium nitrate stored at the plant could explode.

The EPA doesn’t consider the chemical an extreme hazard as a dry fertilizer; as it was stored at the West plant.

Go here for the full story from CBS/DFW 11.

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