Perry and Texas Won't Take Any Responsibility for West Explosion, But We Will Take Money

Categories: Schutze

Count this out with me, will you? Texas Governor Rick "Oops" Perry won't support increased government regulation of fertilizer makers or sellers like the plant that blew up in West on April 17, killing 15, injuring 200 and inflicting property damage now estimated at $80 million.

Don't need no stinking regulation.

Governor Oops won't dig into the state's $8 billion reserve fund to help West. He can't find any serious money for West in the state's $197 billion two-year budget.

Ain't got no stinking money.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, meanwhile, has approved more than $7 million in low-cost loans to residents, has agreed to pay 75 percent of the cost of debris removal and will fully compensate local and state agencies for the cost of the initial emergency response. FEMA declined to hand out more money because the disaster at West did not meet guidelines in federal rules and statutes that would allow bigger payments.

So now Governor Oops is saying the whole thing is Obama's fault. In a written statement Governor Oops raked the president because he prayed with West. Obama, Perry said, "stood in front of a grieving community and told them they would not be forgotten."

Yeah. Pray, pray, pray. So where's our stinking money?

Thumbnail image for perryfiringun.jpg
"Nobody move! This is a stickup!"
As Brett Shipp has reported at WFAA-Channel 8, the town of West took federal money for years that was supposed to set up a local emergency response committee. They did absolutely nothing. They didn't need no stinking committee, although they were happy to take the money.

The owner of the plant that blew up, a pillar of the community in the West, carried a grand total of $1 million in insurance, less than the umbrella liability coverage for a small lake house. Can't sue him: no pockets. So now with the aid of plaintiff's attorneys -- and I bear no animus toward good plaintiff's attorneys -- the town has found a big chemical company with deep pockets to plumb.

Apparently CF Industries, the suit-worthy target, sold nothing to the plant in West. But they may have produced chemicals that other companies used to make fertilizer that they then sold to the West reseller. And CF Industries has pockets. Yeah, I guess all's fair in love, war and lawsuits.

But here's the bigger picture. Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, is urging a review of federal chemical safety regulations. So far only radio silence has emerged from the office of Governor Oops on this score. The mayor of West, meanwhile, has offered back-up to Oops, endorsing his no-stinking-regulation position.

Even The Dallas Morning News, hardly a liberal Democratic house organ, points out in an editorial today that simple conflicts of jurisdiction between state and federal agencies have stymied relief efforts in West. Forget about the regs themselves. We can't even decide whose regs to follow.

So here is my question. Before Governor Oops tries to use the president's prayers against him as a gouge for more cash, might it not behoove him at least to concede that Boxer is correct in seeking a review of the regulations and jurisdictions already in place? Before local officials in West do a reach-around to grab money from a corporation whose name they just learned a week ago, might it not behoove them to own up to at least some of their own failures of responsibility?

Because otherwise, here's what it looks like: Texas will do nothing as a state to responsibly regulate industries. Local Texans will do nothing to protect their own towns. But if anything bad does happen, Texas and its towns will regard a disaster as a kind of moral holiday, a chance to reach out and grab money from foreigners.

In other words, the basic moral and political model offered in this by the governor of the great state of Texas is a speed trap. Pass through here -- or don't pass through, just sell something to somebody else who does pass through -- and you better watch it, because we want your money. How is that "business friendly?" I'd say it's more like business better keep a hand on its wallet if it comes through here.

There has been a lot of chit-chat since Oops announced he's not going to run for re-election. Did you see that speech? Did anybody else think Oops was trying to channel Charlton Heston down from Sinai with the tablets?

Anyway, people are speculating about whether he will run for president again and if he does what it will take for him to expunge his oops moment in the last national campaign. The only thing I can think of is martyrdom.

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Yo dis here iz somewhat rational.


Does anyone consider how miserable Texas is beginning to look to others outside the state?  We have an inarticulate nut of a governor who wants to practice medicine without a license  (mandated antiviral vaccines for teenagers-who may or may not be sexually active, inexplicably stringent requirements for minor OB procedures, required invasive transvaginal ultrasounds for young women) --and who has so little regard for citizens of his state that he ignores  potentially fatal  big business industrial  negligence.  Besides the obvious dangers of mid town  combustible fertilizer storage,there is the obliviousness to natural gas pipeline accidents in Texas, which, according to the PHMSA  (pipeline hazardous materials safety administration) accounts for 2l% of all US significant incidents of safety lapse related injury and 14% of deaths  nationwide. (just in Texas).  Seriously.  If you wanted to move here and live, start a business,etc. this place is beginning to look seriously unappealing.


 For some reason this makes me think of Katrina, Kathleen Blanco, and the levies. Read:

"Because otherwise, here's what it looks like: (Louisiana) will do nothing as a state to responsibly regulate industries. Local (Louisianans) will do nothing to protect their own towns. But if anything bad does happen, (Louisiana) and its towns will regard a disaster as a kind of moral holiday, a chance to reach out and grab money from foreigners.


In Steven King's "The Dead Zone", an man with power to see the future has a premonition that a presidential candidate will start a nuclear war after he wins the presidency.  He therefore tries to assassinate the candidate with a rifle, but his attempt fails and he is mortally wounded.  However, during the attempt the candidate grabs a small child to use as a shield.  Before he dies, the protagonist has another premonition of the candidate committing suicide, his career destroyed by the pictures of him holding the child.

OOPS needs to understand that he will NEVER escape "oops."  

holmantx topcommenter

Jesus people.  "Texas will do nothing as a state to responsibly regulate industries. Local Texans will do nothing to protect their own towns. But if anything bad does happen, Texas and its towns will regard a disaster as a kind of moral holiday, a chance to reach out and grab money from foreigners."

Go ask West if they care now?  Or any of the areas htat have these retail plants across America.

1st let's try a little background:

In 2011, the U.S. fertilizer industry reported some $10 billion in revenues. The United States as a whole shipped about $4.5 billion worth of fertilizer overseas and imported another $13 billion worth. We still import about half the synthetic nitrogen fertilizer we use.

According to a report from the Fertilizer Institute, there are 44 production plants around the country. And 30 of those are nitrogen plants.

West, Texas isn’t included in the above numbers. That’s because the fertilizer facility that exploded wasn’t a production plant. It was a retail facility, one of approximately 6,000 around the country that sells directly to farmers in a 50- to 100-mile radius. “There is no national list of retail facilities, but each state registers and regulates them,” Kathy Mathers, VP of Public Affairs at The Fertilizer Institute.

These fertilizer plants are located within our agricultural regions.  They are cusial in the production of food.

Is the U.S. fertilizer industry growing? Yes, and fast. Mainly because the United States is now awash in cheap natural gas. A great deal of fertilizer is synthesized from atmospheric nitrogen and natural gas — that was likely the case with the ammonia stored in the retail facility in West, Texas. 

During the early 2000s, the fertilizer industry had been moving abroad to places with natural gas. But the fracking boom has given the United States its own cheap shale gas, and producers are now returning home. One Egyptian company, for example, is investing $1.4 billion in a fertilizer plant in Iowa near a gas pipeline. Meanwhile, the global demand for fertilizer keeps growing, particularly after widespread shortages and food price spikes in 2007 and 2008.

Can we do without a fertilizer industry?  Not easily. As Fred Pearce in a Yale Environment360 essay, chemical fertilizer currently helps feed some 3 billion people worldwide. And synthetic nitrogen fertilizer has lifted the “carrying capacity” of soil around the world from 1.9 people per hectare of farmland to 4.3 people.


Barbara Boxer?

You want to rely upon her, or Congress, Wall Street and the 42,000 lobbyists on K Street?  

We should adopt a utilitarian versus an abolitionist regulatory approach, and that can only be accomplished at the state level.

You leave this to D.C. and it will be used as a political weapon, like the IRS.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

Does everyone still believe there is a budget surplus????  If so, show it to me.  Not in budgetary documents, show me the money, the gold, the assets.  I want to actually see $8billion in liquid assets that can be called up on a rainy day.

There is no surplus because there is no budgetary mechanism in government accounting to handle a surplus.  All funds must be spent, shortages can be borrowed for, excesses must be spent.  If a department does not spend all it's budgeted funding for fiscal year, that department's budget will be slashed the next year.  Thus all government entities are extremely adept at spending at or above their budget levels.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

OOPS hates the federal government, Obama, and FEMA.  Yet, while he sits on a $9 billion surplus, he begs and cries for money from the Feds.  Pathetic.


"The Dallas Morning News, hardly a liberal Democratic house organ"

That is the best joke you have written

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

First law of political dynamics: What has once been "Ooops"-ed" cannot be un-"Oops"-ed.

Besides, who wants a known drug abuser as President?


@Oxtail Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is a difference between an avoidable industrial accident and a natural disaster-(hurricane.)

JimSX topcommenter


What absolute bullshit.  Did anybody say they were against fertilizer? is it your position that the fertilizer industry can only be profitable by blowing up towns? The death count in the air crash in San Francisco this week was appreciably lower because of government control and regulations covering everything from avionics to  seat cushion materials. Beating on your chest, talking about how fat your industry is and then thinking you have made some kind of argument against regulation is moronic. There will always be people like you who want to make money being outlaws. It's up to the rest of us to be smarter than that.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

@animas @Oxtail Not when you look at the natural disaster from the viewpoint of the levees failing, which was the actual disaster. Louisiana steadfastly refused to put money into shoring up the levees once told that the levees would not withstand even a category III hurricane.  Then it becomes an eerie premonition for what is bound to happen the next time the Trinity decides to shake loose its human shackles again.  When the Trinity floods again and the levees fail, it will not be a natural disaster.  It will be, as Jim has often pointed out, an illustration of the arrogance of man's disregard for nature.

everlastingphelps topcommenter

@JimSX@holmantxis it your position that the fertilizer industry can only be profitable by blowing up towns? 

Name a second town in the next ten seconds.

Oh, right, because fertilizer plants aren't blowing up all over the country. Just one freak accident.  But we Gotta Have A Law, right?  Because every outlier black swan event needs another stupid fucking regulation named after it.

JimSX topcommenter


Sorry, didn't read your name until this was up. You probably are not in the industry, are you? You are just being dumb in their behalf.

RTGolden1 topcommenter

@CitzenKim @whocareswhatithink Joe Biden himself stood against Obama on several occasions and Bill Clinton endorsed one of Obama's opponents rather vociferously.  You don't get much more 'democratic' than those two.

Just sayin.


@CitzenKim @whocareswhatithink Oh you mean the one thing they do every four years that's not democratic...yeah Im such a f'ing idiot.

I guess you don't read any of the other stories, let alone opinion pieces. You stick to your once a 4 year read

holmantx topcommenter

@JimSX @holmantx

No offense and no I do not work in the fertilizer industry. 

However it appears you suffer from Oopsitis and in order to hit out at Perry, you condemn the six thousand retail plants across the fruited plain.  I don’t know what their particular situations are (across rural America) and neither do you, nor are they flying across state lines and landing at Love Field (interstate commerce).  They’re local plants serving locally.  Or maybe you just reserve the whip hand for Texas since they are comparatively unregulated (in your mind).  But based on data from the Guardian, there have been at least 16 unintended explosions of ammonium nitrate since 1921 that have led to casualties. Six of those have occurred in the United States.  Hell, GRAIN ELEVATORS blow more than that!  And you want to sound the klaxon, call in the national Congress?  Those shitbirds can’t even deliver a budget! 

So we call on Brooklyn Barbara and her Congressional posse?  Yeah right.  She wouldn’t be on it if it weren’t political.  It's Texas By God!  Git’em!  She’s a cartoon, not a lucid human being.  These people now pass laws they don’t even read until its enacted. 

D.C. is as toxic as it gets right now for the country and a Limousine Liberal, with a veritable REAM of moronic quotable moments, and a workman’s comp lawyer for a husband outa Rancho Mirage of all places suddenly wants to hep us out.  It is a naked political attack and you know it.  She wants hearings hang a SEEEEE! on Texas for political points.  

But you see, we got this thing called the Constitution.  States Rights are supreme over a limited federal governance with only a few listed responsibilities assigned to it.  Everything else goes to the states and like schools, that which is regulated closer to home is more effective.  Your slam on West and all the Americans who don’t live in the big anthills notwithstanding. 

But to assert that Lakewood would not care if a fertilizer plant is plopped down on the site of the country club and you need a federal bureaucrat to provide safety is just sick.  A) self-preservation would take over NATIONWIDE after that harsh midwife delivered the West explosion, and B) the denizens of Lakewood do not depend upon the fertilizer plant nor the health of the agri-industry so yeah, you just turned in to that anti-recycler, Todd Robberson.  

Let the states do their job.  Particularly on these RETAIL fertilizer plants that only serve an area 50 to 100 miles around them (no interstate commerce).  And try to muster up enough faith in an America you obviously know nothing about. 

I’ll say this, Texas, as well as the rest of the states whose economies rely upon the agri-industry, will need to ramp it up as fracking is going to proliferate the number of fertilizer plants.  

Why, Texas could become a net exporter.  YEEE-HHAAAAAW ! ! !

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