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West Fertilizer Violated Federal Anti-Terror Regulations

[ 133 ] April 21, 2013 |

Does it go too far to call the West Fertilizer Corporation a terrorist corporation for its actions that led to the explosion that has killed at least 14 people so far, a number that could still go higher, and destroyed much of the town of West, Texas? Perhaps it goes too far to use such a term. On the other hand, the West Fertilizer Corporation actually violated federal anti-terrorism law:

The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate – which can also be used in bomb making – unaware of any danger there.

Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.

A U.S. congressman and several safety experts called into question on Friday whether incomplete disclosure or regulatory gridlock may have contributed to the disaster.

“It seems this manufacturer was willfully off the grid,” Rep. Bennie Thompson, (D-MS), ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement. “This facility was known to have chemicals well above the threshold amount to be regulated under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act (CFATS), yet we understand that DHS did not even know the plant existed until it blew up.”

That’s a pretty incredible violation. It’s hardly the only problem with the plant. Last summer, it was fined $10,000 for safety violations, although that was reduced after the company ameliorated the problem. It last received an OSHA inspection in 1985, when it was fined $30. The town itself is devastated, not only because of the 14 dead but because of the destruction of its infrastructure.

So what punishment should the owners of the West Fertilizer Corporation receive? Should they be treated like other violators of anti-terrorism law? They killed far more people than the Tsarnaev brothers. Should they be charged with murder? Should they even serve prison time? It’s highly unlikely that even the latter will happen given the amount we excuse anti-social corporate behavior. Corporations now have free speech rights but they don’t have personal responsibility.

Of course, the real question is how many other ticking time bombs are in communities around the nation? There are few industries with the potential for massive disaster of fertilizer, but between petroleum, chemicals, and mining, there are all sorts of communities suffering from enormous environmental and workplace safety problems. Grain elevators with poor safety standards litter much of the nation. Then there’s industries most of us don’t even think about, like fertilizer. Without a far more vigorous regulatory structure with real consequences for corporations, workers and communities will continue to bear avoidable burdens. It might be a long time before we see a workplace disaster this bad again (although it will eventually happen in coal), but smaller disasters will kill 1, 2, 5 workers in various places, while the poor will contract cancer, black lung, and other diseases from their inability to escape exposure to industrialized nature and the consequences of corporate malfeasance.


Comments (133)

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  1. Nutella says:

    Making the public pay the environmental, social, and disaster recovery costs for private companies while their owners keep every nickel of the profits is the American way.

    Making the middle-class white Christians of West Fertilizer who violated terror laws, endangered the lives and property of thousands, and actually killed at least 14 people responsible for their actions isn’t.

    Somehow I don’t think we’ll discussing whether the owners and managers of the fertilizer company need to have their Miranda rights read to them or not. Instead of getting arrested by cops in body armor they’ll probably be showered with sympathy for their sad loss.

    I’ll believe corporations are people when they get the death penalty in Texas just like people do.

  2. Jon says:

    The Tsarnaevs intended to kill people (assuming what we think we know about them holds up), so the situations aren’t the same. But negligent homicide could be a fit.

    • sparks says:

      I am reminded that drunk drivers who do not intend killing people have been charged with murder when they run someone over.

      • Fake Irishman says:

        Though people who aren’t drunk are almost never charged with a felony — or even a written a ticket. Streetsblog had been tracking this sort of thing for a while now. Of course, the victims are usually pedestrians or cyclists (often of color and often poor people), so they don’t count as much because they aren’t driving a care like Real Americans (TM) do. In fact, it sounds like traffic justice works a lot like corporate responsibility.

      • Neglect to tend to an issue that you know could potentially cause danger or harm to other people has the same effect as if a singular person was to inflict purposeful harm onto another person.Why were the explosions in Boston more important that the explosions in Texas, because one of them has a face and the other forces us to look at how our system that we live by runs.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can go with the idea they didn’t intend to kill people. However, it should be recognized that neither did they intend to keep people safe.

      • PhoenixRising says:

        I’m not familiar with CFATS, but I know the compliance laws around offshoring pretty well. If it’s anything like those laws it’s strict liability. Meaning that the failure to comply triggers civil penalties and a willful failure to comply (we issued notice & you did nothing) is criminal.

        I know this because I sell software that helps manufacturers comply with all applicable regulations, fed and state. It would have cost this plant, with 12 workers (?) about $12K a year to be continuously updating a compliance audit that covers everything from this issue to whether they are properly training their staff in emergency procedures.

        Who here thinks it should cost some exponent of that, plus potential criminal liability, to ignore the regulations?

    • Anonymous says:

      Negligent homicide/manslaughter with depraved indifference. Plus insurance fraud. Plus willfully ignoring anti-terror laws. I hope they’re tried like any other mass murderer.

      • cpinva says:

        “Plus insurance fraud.”

        not sure where you got this from, unless you know something no one else, in the world, is aware of. that said, you do raise an interesting point: i’m betting there’s a requirement, in the plant’s liability insurance, that the company be in complience with all applicable local/state/federal laws/regulations. the failure to do so would automatically void the contract, and release the insurance company from any legal obligations.

        in other words, it’s going to be a long, long time, before the injured parties see any compensation from this company.

        • Cody says:

          Most likely the company will just go bankrupt, sell it’s assets to the CEO’s new company, and resume normal operations.

          At least they’re not doing something evil like discharging student loans.

  3. News Nag says:

    It seems the plant was owned by an 85-year-old pillar of the town, very well-respected and such, who also is the owner of a large grain storage and distribution operation that predated his relatively recent purchase of the fertilizer plant. In rural Texas, the anti-regulation resentment comes with the territory but has been intentionally cultivated under the dunce-like iron grip of Rick Perry’s governorship. The Texas Department of State Health Services shares the blame, maybe even holding most of it. Perry’s appointees run the department. I could see an elderly owner, fatally intransigent or not, assuming that the information would somehow automatically be learned by the feds, even if he realized that he, himself, was supposed to report to them directly, though that doesn’t make his culpability any less clear. I’m just describing the situation a bit more fully.

    • Y’know I can think of at least one fertilizer supplier in North Central Tx that made me fill out the paperwork every time I got NH3 in quantity. We had to report it. He had his to send in and I signed and gave them the requisite identification. Rick Perry has zero interest in having competent and thorough inspectors. It has been left up to the corporations to police themselves. Though the man I mentioned did follow those rules his place resembles a dump. No, it is a dump. Fertilizer fall out all over the ground near the mixer, no fire suppression systems, stuff just lying around hither and yon. And nobody will ever say a word or do anything because nobody will ever know it until it is too late. If he has ever been inspected it was probably before I was born.

      And here is a little tale to warm your heart about inspections in Texas.

      There is a quarantine on certain species of palms. You are not allowed to import them from FLA due to a particularly devastating disease. However, I know of a nursery that regularly violates this rule of law. How? Oh the shipper says philodendron? Righto! Carry on sir!
      Then one day a young man from the TDA comes by for our yearly inspection. He strolled around and looked at a few things. Walked right by half a dozen examples of palm trees that never should have made it out of Florida. Should have issued me a stop sale immediately and waited while I sawed them in two. Should have made me call the brothers and read them the riot act. Instead he handed me a nice copy of our inspection report marked ‘Passed’. The boy had no clue whatsoever. If I stuck all of our verboten palms in a nice neat row I would be willing to bet my next paycheck he couldn’t even give me the common name for a third of them, much less tell which ones fell under the quarantine.

      And that my friends is the state of affairs in Texas inspections.

  4. c u n d gulag says:

    Boy, I bet that $30 fine by OSHA in ’85 pur the fear of God in the company!

    Without that $30 fine, that plant might have blown up then, instead of now.

    If we have to say that corporations are people, can we at least be allowed to say that they’re sociopathic people?

  5. Shakezula says:

    Does it go too far to call the West Fertilizer Corporation a terrorist corporation for its actions that led to the explosion that has killed at least 14 people so far, a number that could still go higher, and destroyed much of the town of West, Texas?

    This is hyperbole I can live with.

    What if instead of the shit going off bang there, failure to follow the rules allowed someone to steal a bunch and set it off bang elsewhere? What if an employee sold some off to a friend because there was so much of it laying around no one would miss a stray ton?

    I also must – because I am pissed – point out that the same people who scream like stuck pigs at the thought of having to follow laws designed to stop acts of mass murder are the very same fucks who are sweating their balls off to outlaw abortion, allegedly because they want to save lives.

    • Considering their lack of attention to safety standards, I would say that their security standards are just as feeble and it is a certainty. At least that we might as well assume so, unless there is some way of ascertaining that it isn’t so.

      You know, like putting in the additives to fertilizer and other explosive compounds that would allow tracking where the stuff comes from when it goes boom. Except, oh yeah, that’ just ANOTHER thing that infringes on the second amendment and that the NRA has managed to squelch.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      In their minds, corporations are people, and so are fetuses – until they’re born.

      You know who they don’t consider people?
      Anyone outside of a womb, who doesn’t agree with their Cro-Magnon way of looking at things.

      They dehumanize people like us, and use eliminationist rhetoric all of the time, Shakezulu.

      But, since we ask them to get a brain and a heart, while they talk about smashing our brains in, and cutting out our hearts, what the MSM says, is, “SEE! BOTH sides do it!”

      • Shakezula says:

        Anyone outside of a womb, who doesn’t agree with their Cro-Magnon way of looking at things ^and isn’t wealthy. Only heaven forbid the deluded proles find out about that last bit because they’ve been hoarding weapons on their masters’ say so and there’s no way the MOTUs can bear the thought of not taking it all with them should they have to flee an uprising.


  6. dp says:

    Plainly, West Fertilizer should be treated as an enemy combatant.

  7. Chuchundra says:

    The thing that really chills me to the bone about this thing is that it could have been much much worse. There was plenty of warning and the plant and surrounding area were mostly evacuated before everything went boom.

    Had there been little or no warning and no time to evacuate with people still in their homes and children still in school you could have had hundreds, maybe thousands of people dead.

  8. masaccio says:

    Similarly prominent is the company’s owner, West patriarch Donald Adair, 83, whose family also owns an adjacent grain and farming business. Adair, who bought the fertilizer plant less than a decade ago, was born and raised in West, where several of his children still live.
    “The man is devastated by what’s happened,” said West resident Len Martin, who attends the West Church of Christ, where Adair has long served as an elder. “This is just a very hard thing. There are no absolute answers, no easy words to make it go away.”
    Adair was attending Bible study when fire broke out at his plant Wednesday evening, according to the Church of Christ’s official organ, the Christian Chronicle.

  9. Steve S. says:

    So what punishment should the owners of the West Fertilizer Corporation receive?

    If you got drunk and drove the wrong way down the interstate causing a chain reaction involving a hundred vehicles, killing roughly a dozen people, what would be the punishment in Texas?

    • Alan in SF says:

      That’s not a good example, as drunk driving has kind of a special place in Texas culture, and you’d probably get community service. A better question might be, “If a black or brown person killed one white person…”

      • Steve S. says:

        I already know what I and most bloggers/commenters think about this, what I’d like to know is how Texas thinks about my hypothetical. That would be a starting point for how I think about the answer to the question.

    • Warren Terra says:

      Well, if you kills just one person behind the wheel, you can be sentenced to decades as the wife of George W Bush. So I’m guessing the penalty for killing two or more is pretty epic.

  10. Patrick Pine says:

    Thanks for writing this…unfortunately this won’t likely appear in any major media even as a ‘guest opinion’ – and if either Murdoch or the Koch brothers succeed in buying the Tribune Co. and its eight US newspapers including the LA Times and the Chicago Tribune – as they both reportedly are trying to do – our chances of seeing, hearing or viewing anything questioning corporate responsibility will be even further diminished so that we have to read LG&M or the like. So credit to LG&M but sad that we don’t get this anywhere else…

  11. Alan in SF says:

    Any moment now I expect to hear a Texas congressman or state legislator says that if the people of West were better armed they could have defended themselves against the explosion.

    I often ask conservatarian trolls if I have the right to build a rendering plant upwind and upstream of them, and they’ll cheerfully accept the cost of being poisoned. They never answer, but I think this answers the question.

  12. N__B says:

    Let me point out that the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory were tried for manslaughter and found not guilty. So there’s a precedent for factory owners’ unaccountability.

  13. Pooh says:

    Does corporate personhood extend sufficiently to allow for calling for heads on sticks?

  14. Hanspeter says:

    The real terrorist act is using a mobile-specific URL on the world wide web.

  15. roger Glasgow says:

    The only defense against a bad company(person) with a bomb is a good person with a bomb. Or to put it slightly more biblical: An eye for an eye…. this assures that everyone would be blind.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Curious what the vocal newest Senator of Texas, Mr. Ted Cruz, thinks about his homegrown explosion? I haven’t seen anything.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      check out the post ‘principles’ a bit farther down the list here at lgm

      (typical gop bs: “terrible tragedy, nobody’s fault, and shovel some taxpayer money this way”)

    • OmerosPeanut says:

      Last I heard, he was asking for the full support of federal disaster funds.

    • Anonymous says:

      He thinks that’s the town should get federal aid. The d-bag voted against aid for Sandy victims.

      • Warren Terra says:

        Makes sense. If your god is the god of Mammon and not the god of Nature, the victims of Sandy were foolish layabouts who got what they deserved, while the citizens of West were hit by an Act of God.

      • KatWillow says:

        The fertilizer company should supply millions in “aid” to the people they harmed. The plant explosion was NOT a Natural Disaster such as Sandy, or an earthquake or wildfire.

  17. Matt says:

    Question, for anybody who’s more familiar with such things: how exactly does one go about *acquiring* 270 TONS of ammonium nitrate without DHS being notified? Presumably somebody further up the supply chain is actually following the rules, so wouldn’t somebody notice that tons and tons of the stuff had simply wandered off-the-record?

    • PhoenixRising says:

      This will be a key question in assigning civil and criminal liability, I’m guessing.

      HTH did the audit trail end up with no end…and no one noticed?

      Also too: I’m supposed to trust DHS with the contents of my emails, and they haven’t closed the audit loop on explosives?

      Oh dear.

    • ajay says:

      how exactly does one go about *acquiring* 270 TONS of ammonium nitrate without DHS being notified? Presumably somebody further up the supply chain is actually following the rules, so wouldn’t somebody notice that tons and tons of the stuff had simply wandered off-the-record?

      Not an expert, but judging by the link the law relates to how much of the stuff you can have at a time. So you can bring ten tons of raw AN in through the gate every day, and as long as there’s fertiliser containing ten tons of AN going out the gate, so you finish the day with no AN on your premises, you’re legally fine. There’s no reason for an upstream supplier to get suspicious.

  18. Ken says:

    Intent is important. The Tsarnaevs planned to do wrong, so in religious terms they’re like Satan or Ahriman, one of those gods that actively seek to harm humanity.

    The West Fertilizer corporation just didn’t care, so they’re more like Great Cthulhu or one of those other Lovecraftian deities.

    • AnotherBruce says:

      When are we going to get a Cthulhu movie? Or any Lovecraft movie, say The Dunwich Horror for example.

      • wjts says:

        The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society’s version of The Call of Cthulhu is pretty good (and available for streaming on Netflix). I haven’t seen their version of The Whisperer in Darkness yet, but I’ve heard generally positive things about it. Ditto Die Farbe, which is a German adaptation of “The Colour Out of Space”. And, well, there’s always Re-Animator

        • Hogan says:

          John Carpenter did a version of In the Mountains of Madness, but it’s more a movie about Lovecraft stories than a Lovecraft story, if you see what I mean.

        • herr doktor bimler says:

          The Whisperer in Darkness is well-done if you’re in the mood for a 1920s period-piece / homage. The budget for CGI and special effects was clearly much larger than for ‘Call’. The plot is elaborated from the original (with a guest appearance from Charles Fort) but in a way that’s true to the material.

    • Warren Terra says:

      There are good radio dramatizations. BBC Radio 4 Extra reruns At The Mountains Of Morning and A Shadow Over Innsmouth occasionally.

      They may be too atmospheric for Hollywood: not enough car chases and explosions. You can always add those in, of course – but do you really want to see the result?

    • KatWillow says:

      They were indifferent to the death and destruction their plant could render the community, and are probably still indifferent, except for wondering if they had enough insurance, and if their lawyers are up to snuff.

  19. cpinva says:

    “Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.”

    this isn’t very clear to me. does this mean there were actually 270 tons of this stuff sitting around the plant, on 12-31-2012? unfortunately, the article doesn’t say. being a fertilizer plant, and ammonium nitrate being an essential component of fertilizer, purchasing 270 tons of it, during the course of a year, doesn’t seem particularly odd, depending on the level of production/sales.

    the more critical issue is: how much ammonium nitrate, on average, was being stored on-site, daily? sadly, the article’s author fails to answer this very basic question, making the assertion that the company had 1,350 times of it on hand of questionable accuracy. if they’re turning over inventory fairly rapidly, they probably did have a large amount of ammonium nitrate on hand, during the course of the year, along with every other component raw material, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all 270 tons of it was sitting on the factory grounds at one time. in fact, it seems highly unlikely that it was.

    don’t get me wrong, i am in no way defending the company, its owners or managers, they very clearly were in violation of (probably) multiple safety regulations, up to and including the failure to have a sufficient fire suppression system in the facilities. that said, let’s try to do a better job of getting the basic facts correct, or doing a better job of reporting those basic facts.

    • jim, some guy in iowa says:

      going into spring planting i’d be willing to be most any fertilizer distributor is full and then some of product – but there’s something awfully strange about being so far over the regulated weight

      • PhoenixRising says:

        Not sure about that.

        The regulated weight=an amount that, if the next Tim McV gets it into his hands is going to cause a fireball.

        Not necessarily an amount that a plant going two shifts some spring days couldn’t process in a day.

        This regulation was developed for public safety, not based on how much of the chemical is needed as an ingredient.

        Point being, it may be a typical amount for a plant making this much fertilizer to have on hand–which is why the local hazmat team, the feds and the state ought to regularly audit the plant’s safety plan.

        The reg doesn’t state that a fertilizer plant can’t or shouldn’t have these quantities, orders of magnitude greater than the floor for inspection and audit–it states that they need a plan and certain safety devices, etc.

        • jim, some guy in iowa says:

          yes, you’re right, and i should have remembered that from studying for the farm chemical applicator’s license test

        • cpinva says:

          “Point being, it may be a typical amount for a plant making this much fertilizer to have on hand–which is why the local hazmat team, the feds and the state ought to regularly audit the plant’s safety plan.”

          it might be, i have no idea, and probably most readers of that article don’t either. unfortunately, the authors of the article provided no clarification, leaving us all to conclude, based on the article, that the plant had this unusually ginormous amount of this very unstable, potentially explosive chemical, lying around the plant, that no one knew about. “1,350 times the amount required to be reported to DHS”, “270 tons on hand last year”, absent any other relevant data, i, as a reader, are (reasonably so, i think) left to conclude that there was this huge fucking pile of ammonium nitrate, stored on the plant grounds, with no rational explanation for it being there.

          this is extremely poor reportage, as far as i’m concerned, no less sensationalistic than the The New York Post, and just as lacking in actual facts.

          • Pooh says:

            I mean, I think it’s pretty clear there was a huge fucking pile of it, and whether there was a good reason for there to be is sort of besides the point.

        • peggy says:

          Homeland Security requires 25 pounds to be registered and a photo ID is required for purchase, as this is the amount that can level a small house.

          I’ve bought five pound bags of this material at suburban gardening stores. Did they have fifty or five hundred pounds in inventory? Agricultural use is more intense.

          Ammonium nitrate is not that dangerous. It doesn’t ignite till 600F. Germans at Oppau in 1921 had used dynamite to break up 4000 ton clump of it 20,000 times before it exploded. (Don’t try that at home.)

          While it wasn’t being treated with the care it deserved, there are probably similar stores all over america’s agricultural heartland.

  20. KatWillow says:

    The Owners should ALL go to jail for a couple of years, minimum.

  21. Tnap01 says:

    Don’t lose hope that this won’t go viral, Arianna linked to it on her Twitter!

    • cpinva says:

      “Don’t lose hope that this won’t go viral, Arianna linked to it on her Twitter!”

      oh well then, if arianna “just send me the money!” huffington linked to it, then surely it will be on the evening news!

  22. There is another article very similar to this one comparing the importance of the Boston explosions and the importance of the Texas explosions.

  23. montag2 says:

    The business about grain silos, etc., is right on point. When I was in high school, I lived a few miles from a sugar beet processing plant that was either owned by U&I or contracted to them. Sugar dust is probably even more explosive than coal dust, and they apparently had a static discharge inside a silo being filled with processed sugar. The explosion blew out windows five miles away. The plant was on the route of my bus to school, and the next day, I saw nothing but chunks of concrete and some twisted rebar sticking out of the foundation. The blast had completely leveled the place.

    Fortunately, somewhat different zoning laws applied there than in, ahem, Texas, so there was nothing around the plant. The only casualties were a few second-shift workers at the plant itself.

  24. aimai says:

    I’m in Boston. I don’t think the two explosions deserve the different coverage–but they do provoke different responses. The Boston explosions, being deliberate and malicious, created a necessity to seek justice/prevent further bombings. A task which the city and the police rose to quickly, decisively, and meaningfully. The Texas explosion, to my mind, was also deliberate and malicious (in its negligence) but Texas’s own ideological blinkers, which produced the explosion and the deaths and the crappy health care system which will care for the victims, and the lousy insurance system which will end up beggaring their families and survivors simply is incapable of giving the victims justice. It is also incapable of honestly examining what went wrong. In the Boston case “what went wrong” isn’t really going to be all that painful. I doubt very much that we will find out anything about those boys which will call into question our identity as Americans, or make us feel complicit in the bombing, or do anything but make us sad for everyone concerned. In the Texas case it is going to be impossible to square “Red Adair, that nice grandfatherly christian man who had family in the town” with “corporate negligent homicide.” The press coverage will remain resolutly fixed on sentimental (and terribly sad) descriptions of people whose lives apparently weren’t worth protecting–at least not to the state of texas and red adair.

    • montag2 says:

      Umm, just to clarify, Paul “Red” Adair was the legendary oil well firefighter, who died in 2004.

      The owner of the West fertilizer plant is Donald Adair, apparently no relation to Red.

  25. And it doesn’t cause breakouts either, because it is a natural moisturizer. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and often becomes very dry skin. Coconut oil for skin health will make your skin smoother and softer than you could have dreamed possible.

  26. dollared says:

    Don’t forget the other purpose for the registration statutes – helping first responders understand the danger presented at the site. If those firemen had known that there was anything more than a few hundred pounds of ammonium nitrate at the site, they would have pulled back 100 yards and let it burn. If there had been 100+ tons on site, they would have stayed a half mile away and evacuated everybody.

    Failure to register the chemical is what killed those firefighters. Simple as that.

    • bradp says:

      Don’t forget the other purpose for the registration statutes – helping first responders understand the danger presented at the site.

      The principle purpose of the regulation, it seems, is to monitor the movement of ammonium nitrate and keep it out of criminal/terrorist hands, not really for safety concerns.

      I wonder if the firefighters would have any access to that information regardless of whether it was reported.

  27. […] West Fertilizer Violated Federal Anti-Terror Regulations ( Share this:DiggEmailFacebookGoogle +1LinkedInPinterestStumbleUponPrintRedditTumblrTwitterLike this:Like Loading… This entry was posted in Crime, Disasters, Economic, social, trade union, etc., Environment, Human rights and tagged Texas by petrel41. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  28. bradp says:

    That article raises a lot more questions than it answers, but if we can be sure of something its that everyone involved in determining these regulations would like to solve this:

    Apart from the DHS, the West Fertilizer site was subject to a hodgepodge of regulation by the EPA, OSHA, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Texas Department of State Health Services, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Office of the Texas State Chemist.

    By rolling all of those agencies into a giant DHS monolith with the power to bring the wrath of god down, but will only do so when politically expedient.

  29. Njorl says:

    I suppose it’s a small blessing that the Tsarnaev brothers acted before finding out that hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate are laying around without any security.

    • chris says:

      Yes, they would have just loaded the hundreds of tons of chemicals into their backpacks and…

      Hmm. Maybe it wouldn’t really have helped them much after all. Maybe they even did know about it, but concluded that ammonium nitrate was too bulky to be useful for the kind of plan they were attempting.

  30. […] in the crime, trials to be held with the full panoply of judicial process. Unfortunately, as Erik Loomis writes, we are all too ready to excuse and pardon anti-social corporate activity. “Corporations now […]

  31. […] when workers die because of massive negligence by owners, those owners need to be charged with some form of a murder crime, perhaps equivalent to a fatal drunk-driving charge. Instead, the owners themselves are often seen […]

  32. […] Nothing gets to the heart of the huge double standard in U.S. society between labor and business like the events of the past few weeks.  First we had the Boston Marathon bombings where three people were killed and over one hundred were injured.  This is obviously an act of terrorism.  Then we had the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion that killed at least 15 and also injured over one hundred and also leveled a town.  Was this an act of terrorism?  Turns out yes it was. […]

  33. […] to receive on the look-up of “terrorism law fertilizer” (close enough) this link: West Fertilizer Violated Federal Anti-Terror Regulations – Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers… – […]

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