In light of the tragedy that struck a Texas fertilizer plant on Wednesday night, Home Front Defense Minister Gilad Erdan called upon the government to urgently allocate the necessary budget to move the Haifa ammonia facility to an unpopulated region in the South.
"Hazardous materials near populations are a ticking time bomb and it is our duty to invest the necessary funds and accelerate the separation of hazardous materials from population centers," Erdan said.
In the small Texan town of West, about 120 kilometers south of Dallas, an explosion in a fertilizer plant on Wednesday night rattled the community – killing at least two, wounding more than 100 and spreading flames of toxic fumes all around the town of approximately 2,700 people, Reuters reported.
While ammonia and fertilizer – which typically contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium – are different substances, government officials and environmental activists have long viewed the Haifa Chemicals ammonia tanker located amid a large population center as extremely dangerous. Along those lines, the government made a decision on March 1, 2012, to evacuate the ammonia facility to a southern location that is far away from any residential regions. Work at the Haifa site must cease by the beginning of 2017, according to the decision.