EPA ends safety rules put in place after deadly Texas blast

This April 18, 2013, file photo shows an aerial view of the remains of a fertilizer plant and an apartment complex to the left, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Trump administration is scaling back chemical plant safety measures that were put in place after a Texas fertilizer plant explosion in 2013 that killed 15 people.

The changes announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency include ending a requirement that plants provide members of the public information about chemical risks upon request.

The Obama era rules followed a fire at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that caused ammonium nitrate to ignite, triggering a massive explosion that ripped open a large crater. Ten firefighters were among those killed.

EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the changes do away with “unnecessary administrative burdens.” Chemical manufacturers had pushed for the changes.

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Environmental groups criticized the decision as one that would put people living near chemical plants at greater risk.