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General News    H2'ed 4/21/13

Bring Your Business to Texas Says Gov. Perry as Industrial Tragedy Unfolds

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Martha Rosenberg
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(Article changed on April 21, 2013 at 11:51)


The radio ads almost sound like a joke. "Ecsape" to Texas Gov. Rick Perry exhorts Illinois businesses (exchanging the position of the "s" and the "c" in "escape") even as Texas reels under one of the biggest industrial accidents in its history. Fourteen died and 200 were injured by a fire and explosion at West Chemical and Fertilizer Company in West, TX this week.


You'd think the ads which began this week, telling business owners to move to Texas, would be pulled because of the disaster. You'd be wrong. Leave the anti-business state of Illinois, say the ads, and relocate in Texas where taxes are low and government won't interfere with your business.

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Authorities have not yet released the cause of the explosion at West Chemical and Fertilizer Company in West, TX which annihilated entire swaths of the small town and leveled homes. But the plant is a stellar example of Perry's promise that your business won't be hassled by government regulation if you move to Texas.


Occupational Safety and Health Administration records show that the last time West Chemical and Fertilizer Company was inspected was 28 years ago. The inspection, in 1985, revealed "serious" violations says the New York Times including improper storage and handling of anhydrous ammonia. For the safety violations, West Chemical and Fertilizer Company was fined"$30. Ouch


The plant did not comply with current state regulations because it is so old--built in 1962--that it was grandfathered in, says the Times . Last year, West Chemical and Fertilizer Company was fined by the Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration for more anhydrous ammonia violations.


In 2006, neighbors complained to authorities about strong ammonia smells but the plant was subsequently granted two air permits, reports the Times.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by (more...)

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