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West anniversary brings lawmakers back to Capitol

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AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — This week’s anniversary of the West fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people is bringing lawmakers back to the Capitol to consider tougher oversight of chemical facilities.

A House committee is scheduled Monday to again scrutinize the April 17 blast at West Fertilizer Co. Most killed were firefighters and first responders, and another 200 people were injured.

Investigators have still not determined a single cause of the explosion.

The hearing marks the third time the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee will meet to discuss the aftermath of one of the deadliest U.S. plant explosions in recent years.

Chairman Joe Pickett has said lawmakers are unlikely to impose more permitting on chemical plants. The El Paso Democrat has instead suggested that more power could be given to state inspectors.

 

Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

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