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Town blown away by disaster not happy with EPA change

Town blown away by disaster not happy with EPA change
West explosion
Posted at 11:31 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 00:31:58-05

TOWN BLOWN AWAY BY DISASTER NOT HAPPY WITH EPA CHANGE WEST, TX — The Trump administration Thursday, finalized a plan to roll back regulations of the chemical business.

Nearly 12,500 facilities across the nation must abide by the current safety rules.

The regulations took effect after the devastating explosion in the town of West., to make communities safer from disasters like that but folks there fear, a rollback could put yet another town in jeopardy.

Billy Heath witnessed two historic explosions involving the fertilizer Ammonium Nitrate.

He says he'll never get Neither Oklahoma City, nor West, out of his mind

"That explosion you could hear through half Of Oklahoma city, and this one wiped out half the city, yeah it wiped out half the city," he recalled.

In the aftermath of the West disaster, the Federal Government tightened regulations of the chemical business to prevent a repeat.

Now, Washington wants to roll back the clock.

Mayor Tommy Muska, himself a survivor of the West disaster says, he saw this coming.

"We get all wound up and we want something fixed, but then, We forget about it. This is the 50th anniversary of Texas City. Ammonium Nitrate blew up there and kiilled a lot of people. We didn't learn then ," he said.

What will you see today at the old fertilizer plant? A lot of vacant lands, some old storage tanks and some abandoned trucks. The federal government says rescinding these rules will save the taxpayers 88 million dollars. Mayor Muska calls that "a drop in the bucket". He says the lives these rules were meant to save are worth a whole lot more than that.

”I have to disagree with their logic there because I lost friends. I still see the devastation that happened there 6 1/2 years ago,” Said Muska.

He believes in s happy medium between the needs of business and people's safety, and West has paid the price many times over,

And with two similar disasters under his belt, Billy Heath seems to have even a bigger stake in safety.

"We're supposed to learn from our mistakes, and this is definitely not learning from our mistakes," he said.

He\s survived two explosions, he's not so sure now, if he and family could survive three.