U.S. to levy fines in Texas plant explosion

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

The U.S. government will fine a Texas fertilizer plant for 24 health and safety violations in connection with an April explosion that killed 14 people and injured hundreds, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer of California announced on Thursday.

The violations, which include the unsafe handling and storage of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, carry fines of more than $118,000, Boxer said.

Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a conference call with reporters that she was announcing the action because the statute of limitations on filing violations is approaching and could run out before the partial government shutdown ends. The investigation is continuing, she said, but has been delayed due to the shutdown of the federal government.

The April 17 blast at the West Fertilizer Co flattened homes and caused an estimated $100 million in damages to neighborhoods, businesses and schools in West, Texas, about 80 miles south of Dallas. The dead included 11 firefighters and other first responders who had rushed to contain a fire at the plant moments before the blast.

Ammonium nitrate is a dry fertilizer mixed with other fertilizers such as phosphate and applied to crops to promote growth. It can be combustible under certain conditions.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (5) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Robert Moran    
Kerrville, Texas  |  October, 14, 2013 at 04:08 PM

I find it disturbing that fines are announced by a political influence, as opposed to the regulatory agency that is responsible for such investigations. This has all the earmarks of political interference in the systematic and fair application of law.

MANHATTAN, KS  |  October, 14, 2013 at 05:02 PM

Being sarcastic, hard to imagine Boxer playing politics with investigative matters!!! I think this is the same woman who was offended by a military officer addressing her as "Ma'am", the standard equivalent of sir in the military, in a hearing. All about her visibility!!

Doug Ross    
California  |  October, 14, 2013 at 06:41 PM

Every fertilizer company handles fertilizers and quite well for the most part as it is in their best interest to do so. The Government merely comes along after a disaster and dietermines that it is a disaster and a fine must be paid ... to the Government.

Bill Cisney    
Madisonville, Ky.  |  October, 14, 2013 at 08:45 PM

Boxer is another one of the Ca. idiot women politicians having just enough sense to get publicity.

larry doll    
indiana  |  October, 16, 2013 at 03:46 PM

I would like to know what criteria were used to come to these conclusions. Are they written rules? Or is this CYA kneejerk reaction?


Meridian’s conveyors deliver seed with unmatched versatility. Meridian’s transport conveyors are manufactured with heavy-duty, fully enclosed construction. Meridian’s cross cleated ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form