Texas Explosion – When Regulation Fails

Written by Greg on May 22, 2013

Today news reports indicate that Texas authorities are launching a criminal investigation into the explosion that took place and West, Texas.

The explosion killed 14 people and injured hundreds of others in addition to substantial property damage to the surrounding area. Insurance claims are expected to be in the multiple millions, with the plant itself carrying only a $1 million liability policy.

The impact on the community of West cannot be overstated. After the explosion, a massive investigation was started to determine the cause of the explosion at the West Fertilizer Company. To date, the fire Marshall’s office has yet to determine the official cause of the explosion.

Reports further indicate that at least 60 investigators have been working diligently on the site too determine the cause of the explosion. While authorities are working hard to determine the cause of the explosion, questions remain regarding the absence of regulatory oversight in this plant and elsewhere in the state of Texas.

It may sound cliché, but political slogans such as “too much government regulation” and ” job killing regulations” sound very attractive until you consider the alternatives. One could easily make the argument that the recent Texas explosion is one example of the failure to fund necessary regulation to protect communities and families.

News reports also indicate that the fertilizer plant was previously fined on at least two occasions in the past. It is not known when the last time any authority investigated or checked the plan for compliance with applicable safety regulations.

Launching an investigation after hundreds of people have been injured and 14 killed is a good idea to determine what happened and also to prevent such things from happening in the future. But the lesson will only be learned if the political machine recognizes that regulations on businesses, particularly those engaged in what could be a hazardous industry is absolutely essential to protect Texas families.

Should we fall back on the “job killing regulations” mentality, and then the tragedy that occurred in this Texas community is bound to occur more frequently somewhere else in the future.

Baumgartner Law Firm

6711 Cypress Creek Parkway

Houston, TX 77069

(281) 587-1111

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