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ARKEMA: Safety Board must develop plan for reporting emissions

CROSBY – The Arkema accident continues to have repercussions at a national as well as local level.

The U. S. Chemical Safety Board has dropped an appeal of a federal court decision that requires the agency to regulate the reporting of chemical emissions resulting from accidents like the one at Arkema Chemical Company, in a motion filed August 8th, 2019.

That was related to Judge Amit P. Mehta of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled on Feb. 4 that the Chemical Safety Board had to develop a final requirement for organizations to report chemical releases to the agency.

The CSB subsequently tried to get that decision reversed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

A lawsuit was filed concerning a chemical release from Arkema Inc. after Hurricane Harvey flooded the area and some inadequately refrigerated chemical decomposed and caught fire. Then they were allowed to explode and some 21 people needed medical attention from exposure to toxic fumes. Plaintiffs in the federal suit include Air Alliance Houston, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg began prosecution for the County with a grand jury that indicted Arkema Inc. and Mike Keough, the company’s vice president of logistics, on a felony charge of causing bodily injury. by withholding critical information needed by first responders to protect themselves and the community from chemicals released from Arkema’s Crosby Plant. Local first responders were overcome with hazardous chemicals including sheriff’s deputies.

Residents living within a 1.5-mile radius of the plant were evacuated because of the what was then known about the potential for hazardous materials. More has been learned about hazardous materials that were on site since then including the presence of highly explosive materials.