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Apologies for the ad, but the full Chris Hayes report is worth seeing.
In the wake of 9/11, there was concern that fertilizer plants could be a danger to the population, since they store explosive chemicals. (And sometimes explode, as we saw last week.) But despite all George W. Bush's claims to wanting to make us safe in a post-9/11 world, his administration threw up roadblocks to the regulation of such plants, All in with Chris Hayes reports.
Let’s recap: The Bush administration’s own cabinet secretaries come up with a plan to regulate these chemical plants. It’s stymied by [administration official and Dick Cheney son-in-law] Phil Perry once. The Bush administration sides with the chemical industry when it’s brought before Congress. And then, basically in a backroom maneuver, Perry does the chemical industry’s bidding by moving the oversight of this from the EPA, which the chemical industry hates, to DHS, which the chemical industry thinks they can more easily manipulate.

Now, fast-forward six years. The West Fertilizer company is storing more than 13-hundred times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by DHS. And it does appear now, that not only did DHS literally have no idea that the West Fertilizer company was storing ammonium nitrate. But according to Congressman Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up.

The Obama administration has been considering giving the EPA the authority to oversee such plants, the first plan blocked by Perry. Naturally, the chemical industry is fighting this, since it doesn't want to lose out on the sweet deal the Bush administration put into law for it. In the West Fertilizer Co. explosion, we have a perfect case study for why more oversight is needed, for workers in these plants, for the surrounding communities, and, yes, potentially to stop another Timothy McVeigh. On the very rare occasions that plant was inspected, it developed a pattern of violations that should have been addressed long ago. Instead, it took a devastating explosion to focus attention on the plant's problems. The Obama administration should take that as a sign that strengthening oversight is indeed the right thing to do.
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Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 06:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Daily Kos.

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