US Senate panel to probe Texas fertilizer plant explosion

By REUTERS
April 30, 2013 23:20

 
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WASHINGTON - US Senator Barbara Boxer said on Tuesday that she plans to investigate the explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant earlier this month that killed 15 people and injured scores more.

California's Boxer, the head of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said the panel will hold a hearing "in the near future" on the disaster and will probe whether there are any gaps in the enforcement of US chemical safety laws.

The cause of the April 17 fire and explosion at West Fertilizer Co, about 20 miles (32 km) north of Waco, is not yet known.

"I cannot rest until we get to the bottom of what caused the disaster in West, Texas and the tragic loss of life," Boxer said in a statement. "It is critical that we find out how this happened."

Concerns have been raised that the fertilizer plant might have been storing significant amounts of ammonium nitrate, which can be used in bomb making, without notifying the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as required by law.

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