No right to know where chemicals are stored

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A report from the Associated Press this week notes that the Texas agency that keeps records on chemical storage isn’t disclosing information to just anyone.

The background is that the Texas Attorney General’s office has declared that state agencies should not release information about stockpiled chemicals, and this includes fertilizers such as ammonium nitrate, the fertilizer that can explode when detonated. It is the fertilizer that exploded at West, Texas, last year.

Although some people think disclosure should be for everyone to be informed, the problem is that disclosure makes it easy for terrorists or anyone with bad intensions to easily locate and target stealing dangerous materials, which can be used for bomb making and items of mass destruction or hazards to public safety.

Attorney General Greg Abbott cited a security statute that was put in place after the 9/11 attacks that requires confidentiality about anything that could “assist in the construction of an explosive weapon.”

The attorney general’s gag order is not for keeping information from first responders.

Of course, there as those who have claimed they have the right to know about anything and everything going on in or near their community—whether it is a private corporation manufacturing goods or service companies such as commercial cleaning operations. The right to know cry has gone all the way to the White House. 

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