AirTalk for April 25, 2013

Did Texas’ low-regulation mindset contribute to the tragedy in West?

Fertilizer Plant Explosion In West, Texas

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Search and rescue workers comb through what remains of a 50-unit apartment building the day after an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company destroyed the building April 18, 2013 in West, Texas.

As people of West, Texas gather to mourn today, grief will be much more palpable than blame. Despite reports that the owner of the West Fertilizer Plant failed to report vast amounts of explosive chemicals, multiple residents have described events as the cost of doing business. Federally, security questions are being raised. Ammonium nitrate can be used to make explosives, so it's not know why the plant owner failed to report information to the Department of Homeland Security. It's also not know why ten firefighters were so close to the blast site a full 26-minutes after the initial fire started.

Were local inspectors aware of the plant's contents? Were preventative measures ever discussed? How much policing is needed of businesses?

Rick Rojas, Staff Reporter, Los Angeles Times

Neil Carman, PhD; Former investigator for the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality; Currently clean air program director, Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter in Austin

Chuck DeVore, Vice President of Policy, Texas Public Policy Foundation; Former California State Assemblyman (2004-2010) representing coastal Orange County, including cities of Irvine, Newport Beach, and Laguna Beach

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