Did you know that chemical disasters that can kill or injure people in the United States happen on average every other day, due to inadequate prevention and safety measures, according to 10 years of data from the Environmental Protection Agency?
Under President Obama, the EPA developed commonsense, important improvements to the safety rules for industrial facilities that use or store large amounts of very dangerous chemicals.
These rules would protect both workers and fenceline communities by strengthening emergency preparedness and coordination with local first responders; requiring more thorough prevention measures, including expanded worker safety training, incident investigations and accountability measures; and forcing facilities in the most dangerous industries, such as oil refineries, to evaluate available and practicable ways to operate more safely.
But for reasons that defy logic, these life-saving safety measures were stopped in their tracks by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has supported industry’s efforts to stop the measures since before he took office.
Today, at least one in three schoolchildren in America attends a school within the vulnerability zone of a hazardous facility. And although millions of Americans live under the threat of a toxic plume or chemical disaster, the communities most often in harm’s way are Black, Latino and low-income people.
In the year since Trump delayed the rule, we have documented over two dozen hazardous chemical releases, explosions and fires—incidents that illustrate the strong need for these measures to be in full force.
Tell the EPA to stop putting people in harm’s way. We need protections from chemical disasters now, before more people die because of the agency’s failure to follow the Clean Air Act and to fulfill its mission to protect public health and safety.