Ah... That Right Wing Wacko mentality
- Our citizens live poor, sickly and stupid, and die young, but by God, our companies make higher profits !
After Plant Explosion, Texas Remains Wary of Regulation
Last Updated: 9:08 PM ET
WEST, Tex.â€” Five days after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled a wide swath of this town, Gov. Rick Perry tried to woo Illinois business officials by trumpeting his stateâ€™s low taxes and limited regulations.
â€śThrough their elected officials,â€ť he said, Texans â€śclearly send the message of their comfort with the amount of oversight.â€ť
Texas is the only state that does not require companies to contribute to workersâ€™ compensation coverage.
It boasts the largest city in the country, Houston, with no zoning laws. It does not have a state fire codes,
and it prohibits smaller counties from having such codes.
McLennan is among the counties without a fire code
Some Texas counties even cite the lack of local fire codes as a reason for companies to move there.
But Texas has also had the nationâ€™s highest number of workplace fatalities for much of the past decade.
Fires and explosions at Texasâ€™ more than 1,300 chemical and industrial plants have cost as much in property damage as those in all the other states combined for the last five years.
Compared with Illinois, which has the nationâ€™s second-largest number of high-risk sites, more than 950, but tighter fire and safety rules, Texas had more than three times the number of accidents, four times the number of injuries and deaths, and 300 times the property damage costs.
As federal investigators sift through the rubble at the West Fertilizer Company plant seeking clues about the April 17 blast that killed at least 14 people and injured roughly 200 others, some here argue that Texasâ€™ culture itself contributed to the calamity.
â€śThe Wild West approach to protecting public health and safety is what you get when you give companies too much economic freedom and not enough responsibility and accountability,â€ť said Thomas O. McGarity, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Law and an expert on regulation.
Federal officials and fire safety experts contend that fire codes and other requirements would probably have made a difference.
A fire code would have required frequent inspections by fire marshals who might have prohibited the plantâ€™s owner from storing the fertilizer just hundreds of feet from a school, a hospital, a railroad and other public buildings, they say.
A fire code also would probably have mandated sprinklers and forbidden the storage of ammonium nitrate near combustible materials.(Investigators say the fertilizer was stored in a largely wooden building near piles of seed, one possible factor in the fire.)
â€śItâ€™s tough to overstate the importance fire codes would have made,â€ť said Scott Harris, a former emergency management coordinator in Texas for the Environmental Protection Agency, who is now with UL Workplace Health and Safety, a safety science company.â€śTexas just hasnâ€™t wrapped its brain around this fact yet.â€ť
Ah Texas .... Competing with South Carolina for the Right Wing Wacko crown as having the poorest, most illiterate, and sickest, employees who die young in the name of increased profits.
My money is on South Carolina.