Houston, We Have A Fox-Chicken Problem…

While the new headlines are all about Hurricanes, health care, North Korea and tax “reform,” chickens around the country are getting more and more nervous as the foxes quietly move into the government agencies that are supposed to be protecting them. Over at the Labor Department, Justin Miller in the American Prospect writes about how…

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…

Doubt Grows Concerning ATF Conclusion that West Fertilizer Fire was Deliberately Set

Sometimes blogging is like shouting into the wind. All you hear are echos of your own voice. Then silence. But, then sometimes you actually get a response. I’ve felt like I’ve been shouting into the wind for months, ranting about the evidence-challenged ATF statement over a year ago that the 2013 fire at West Fertilizer…

Dispatches From the Front Lines Of Worker Safety and Health: Short Stuff

EPA Suffers From Shortage of Common Sense: Attorneys General from 11 states — New York, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington – have filed a lawsuit claiming that EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s proposed two-year delay of the Accidental Release Prevention Requirements for Risk Management Programs is illegal under…

Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Battle for Workplace Safety and Health: Short Stuff

“We need to be protecting our workers as much as protecting our shores.”  So says former OSHA head Dr. David Michaels in response to a report by Reveal and PBS about fatalities and injuries at shipyards that receive billions in contracts from the US government. The reporters point out intentional, knowing violations of the law,…

EPA, Climate Change and Regulatory Certainty

A federal appeals court has blocked EPA’s delay of its methane pollution rule. The court says that the reasoning EPA used, that interested parties didn’t have an opportunity to comment, was “unreasonable,” “arbitrary” and “capricious.”  As the New York Times explains, “Methane is a potent greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.” So,…