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|Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
This cartoon ran in the spring of 2013, and related to the tremendous blast at the fertilizer facility in West, Texas, killing 14 people and virtually eliminating the town. Under then-Gov. Rick "Hair" Perry, Texas went on a deregulation spree, largely aimed at its petrochemical industries. They even made it part of their pitch to attract greedy, to-hell-with-public-health polluters who want no government intrusion in their affairs.
Fast forward four years, and Texas is still under the management of big bidness / small gubmint Rethuglicans, who see government regulation as anathema to their philosophy of laissez faire capitalism. In the aftermath of hurricane Harvey that knocked out power, we're seeing that business is still booming -- literally -- at a chemical plant in Crosby, TX operated by Arkema. There, unrefrigerated chemicals are exploding and catching fire. A few years ago, the plant operators were required to list the kinds and amounts of dangerous chemicals they had on site, but no more. Businesses involved in the manufacture of dangerous material are allowed secrecy as far as their operations are concerned by the state of Texas, four years after the devastation of West, Texas:
"Arkema, which operates six plants in Texas and has received more than $8.7 million in taxpayer subsidies from the state, aggressively lobbied the Trump administration to delay Environmental Protection Agency rules that would have required it to report more extensive information to first responders in case of a disaster, International Business Times reported this week."Let that paragraph sink in: Arkema not only got an $8.7 million state taxpayer subsidies, they wanted to avoid providing information to first responders about the dangerous chemicals on site in the event of the type of disaster now unfolding in Crosby. That we can't lock them up for a very long time, along with the Rethuglicans that paved their way, is a crime in itself.