Texas: Proposed Bill Imposes New Chemical Standards for Ammonium Nitrate [US]

H.B. 942 has been introduced in the Texas Legislature in an attempt to improve ammonium nitrate handling and storage.

Improving chemical safety in Texas and correct hazardous situations

Texas State Representative Kyle Kacal (R) has introduced a bill that seeks to amend Texas’ Agricultural, Local Government, and Health and Safety Codes with the aim of improving chemical safety within the state.

The bill would :

  • allow the state fire marshal, a local fire marshal or a local fire chief to inspect any facility that stores ammonium nitrate and enable that authority to correct any hazardous situations they may find.
  • allow the local fire departments to hold planning inspections at facilities that contain ammonium nitrate. 
  • require that Tier II reports, which are community right-to-know reports, be filed with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

Prevent warehouse explosions after deadly April 17, 2013

H.B. 942 has been introduced nearly two years since the deadly April 17, 2013 fertilizer warehouse explosion that occurred in West, Texas.  Storing 20 tons of ammonium nitrate, the warehouse caused a blast that killed fifteen people.  Proponents of the bill hope that codifying these measures will reduce the likelihood of chemical emergencies and promote safe chemical management.

The House Environmental Regulation Committee has not voted on the bill, but no objections were raised against it in the Committee hearing.  If adopted, H.B. 942 would go into effect on September 1, 2015.

Red-on-line EHS Legal specialist

Sources :

H.B. 942, Rep. Kyle Kacal (R).