Houston, TX -- Federal officials released a report stating that nearly 20 fertilizer plants in Texas and other states are dangerously close to schools, parks, nursing homes, and housing.
The proximity of these fertilizer plants to schools and homes plus a lack of regulation has put communities at risk for disaster.
In 2013, the west Texas fertilizer plant disaster killed fifteen people and injured 260 others. Since then, the United States Chemical Safety Board has been conducting an investigation and building a report. The 265-page report found shortcomings in federal and state oversight. It found that the plants aren't providing adequate training to volunteer firefighters and are not handling fertilizer as well as they should. It also warned of the locations being too close to communities with schools, parks, nursing homes, and residential areas. If an explosion were to occur, too many people are in harm's way. In the West Texas disaster, homes were built as close as 370 feet from the property line and the school was only 200 feet from the property line. Those injured were within 1,500 feet of the property line.
The report found that 19 other plants in Texas store the same type of fertilizer and are within a half mile of a community. "Many communities in Texas and nationwide are located too close to facilities resembling [the plant]," the report stated. "risk to the public from a catastrophic incident exists at least within the state of Texas, if not more broadly."
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