Houston chemical plant explodes after lobbying Trump to eliminate safety rules

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Earlier this year, French chemical company Arkema was successful in lobbying the Trump administration to strike down Obama-era safety rules for chemical plants. Today, at least two explosions rocked an Arkema plant in Crosby, TX, a community on the outskirts of Houston.

“We want local residents to be aware that the product is stored in multiple locations on the site, and a threat of additional explosion remains,” Arkema said in a statement today. “Please do not return to the area within the evacuation zone until local emergency response authorities announce it is safe to do so.”

According to the International Business Times, the Obama-era regulations were struck down by the Trump administration after Arkema and its trade association spent tens of millions of dollars donating into federal elections.

Arkema opposed the “Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis,” which aimed to make “accidental releases less likely or the impacts of such releases less severe.” They said these rules weren’t worth it because they would “likely add significant new costs and burdens to the corporate audit process.”

Crosby residents have been encouraged to flee their homes until authorities verify that the chemical plant is no longer a danger to the local community.

UPDATE: Arkema originally stated that there had been two explosions at the Crosby chemical plant, but law enforcement has recently announced that no explosions occurred. However, Arkema’s CEO said that “noxious” smoke is pouring out of the facility and the plant could still potentially explode. Crosby residents are still advised to stay far away from the volatile facility.

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