Arkema Update: Chemical Plants and Climate Change

More information is coming out about the chemical releases at the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby Texas following last summer’s flooding in the Houston area as a result of Hurricane Harvey. To refresh your memory, rising floodwaters disabled the plant’s power supply, the emergency generators and finally the cooling mechanisms in temporary truck storage, allowing…

CSB Withdraws Deepwater Horizon Worker Participation Recommendations

In a 3-1 vote, the Chemical Safety Board voted yesterday to withdraw recommendations calling for the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) to strengthen worker participation requirements and to take measures to prohibit retaliation against workers who use their rights.  Chair Vanessa Sutherland, joined by members Manny Ehrlich and Kristen Kulinowski voted to rescind the recommendations despite…

Deepwater Horizon: Is the CSB Preparing to Retreat on Worker Participation?

The Chemical Safety Board may be preparing to take a significant step backwards in its advocacy for worker participation in preventing chemical facility incidents, including catastrophes like the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In April, 2016 the CSB unanimously approved a 4-volume “Macondo Investigation Report” in response to the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon blowout that killed 11…

Hurricanes and the Chemical Industry: Houston Chronicle Explores the Hazards We’re Facing

The New York Times discussed yesterday how prepared the chemical industry is for natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey. Today the Houston Chronicle picks up on that theme today, focusing on the other end of that problem — how the hundreds of chemical facilities in the Gulf that shut down in response to Harvey can start…

Times: Arkema Incident “Raised Doubts” About Chemical Industry’s Preparedness.

I have a feeling we ain’t seen nothing yet about the effects of Hurricane Harvey on the chemical industry in the Gulf States — and those who live near chemical facilities.  Although the loss of control over chemicals at the Crosby Arkema chemical plant seems to have fallen out of the news in favor of…

Post-Harvey Chemical Plant Start-Ups: Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Department of Labor yesterday announced a number of initiatives to address the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Among those was an announcement that OSHA will cease conducting programmed enforcement actions in the affected areas to avoid disrupting recovery operations. This makes sense, sort of. “Programmed inspections” are “optional,” to the extent they are not legally…

Harvey Update: Flooded Chemical Plant Explodes. Trump Policies Increase Future Risk

Cable news and newspapers across the country are headlining the continuing explosions at the  Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, that was flooded by Hurricane Harvey.  The plant was evacuated after power failed and several containers full of volatile chemicals that required cooling threatened to explode when power was lost and the generators failed. At…

BREAKING: Chemical Safety Board Survives

Good news! The House Appropriations Committee released its FY 2018 Interior and Environment Appropriations budget bill today and it fully funds the Chemical Safety Board. The Trump administration had recommended that the Board be eliminated. The sub-committee will vote on the bill tomorrow House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen stated that “This legislation responsibly supports the…

Save The Chemical Safety Board: Call Your Representatives NOW

The House Appropriations Committee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies will hold a mark-up on Wednesday, July 12 on the FY 2018 budget which includes the budget for the Chemical Safety Board. You may remember that the President’s proposed budget calls for the elimination of the CSB. A mark-up is where they take the proposed bill and…