Dozens of dangerous Texas plants operate near public centers

AP News
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Posted: Jan 28, 2016 1:54 AM

DALLAS (AP) — Federal regulators say dozens of Texas plants similar to a fertilizer facility that exploded in 2013 in the town of West, killing 15 people, are still operating near schools, hospitals and residential neighborhoods.

The Chemical Safety Board says in a report released ahead of a public meeting Thursday that there are 80 plants in Texas that store more than 5 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used in fertilizer.

About half of them are fertilizer plants similar to the West Fertilizer Co., north of Waco, where a fire led to the devastating explosion that registered as an earthquake of magnitude 2.1.

Nineteen plants storing fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate operate within a half-mile of a school, hospital or nursing home. More than 30 of them are within a quarter-mile of a residence.