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Preventing Chemical Disasters

Recent News Coverage

January 25, 2016

Important new CNN OpEd on race, poverty, and chemical disasters co-authored by Coming Clean Board Member and Environmental Justice Health Alliance Co-Coordinator Richard Moore.

(CNN) — This week, we celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Though King and others have accomplished much for civil rights, there is still work to be done to stamp out injustice in our communities. People of color and the poor — and especially poor children of color — continue to face social and economic inequality, including greater exposure to toxic chemicals. And our current state and federal chemical policies are not nearly strong enough to protect them.

October 24, 2015

EJHA Delaware Forum on Safer Chemcials and Processes Draws a Big Crowd

The EJHA Delaware Forum on Safer Chemcials and Processes drew a big crowd, including Regional and national EPA officials, local elected officials, and business, faith, and community representatives.

July 2, 2015

Failed terror attack raises alarms about chemical plant security

The attempted bombing of a chemical plant in France as part of an apparent terrorist attack on 26 June, which culminated in an explosion there and involved a beheading, has exposed the vulnerability of chemical plants, according to several security experts.

Smart Policy Reform News

News Release, February 8, 2016

New report shows that 63 million Americans are endangered by chlorine bleach plants despite availability of safer alternatives.

New report shows that 63 million Americans are endangered by chlorine bleach plants despite availability of safer alternatives.

News Release, July 22, 2015

Community Organizations, Affected Groups Respond to EPAs Failure to Protect Communities of Color and Marginalized Populations From Toxic Chemical Spills Under the Clean Water Act

(Washington, DC) Yesterday the Environmental Justice Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform (EJHA), a national environmental justice network, joined People Concerned About Chemical Safety and the Natural Resources Defense Council in filing suit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to adopt mandatory regulations to protect communities against toxic chemical spills from thousands of industrial facilities.

News Release, June 6, 2014

Environmental Justice and Health Alliance Statement on Chemical Facility Safety and Security Report: Time to put action to words

(Washington, DC) The federal Interagency Working Group on Chemical Facility Safety and Security released its report to President Obama, which includes recommendations for actions to prevent chemical disasters like the April 2013 explosion in West, Texas that leveled an entire neighborhood. The recommendations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) were finalized following an extensive stakeholder process including public Listening Sessions around the country.

News Release, May 1, 2014

Chemical Disasters and Environmental Racism: New report documents Black and Latino communities at higher risk for chemical catastrophe

(Washington, DC) A new report uses data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Census to demonstrate an association between lower average housing values, incomes, and education levels, and greater Black, Latino, and low-income populations living within chemical disaster “vulnerability zones” of 3,433 industrial facilities across the U.S.

News Release, February 27, 2014

Chemical Disaster in New Jersey? President Obama Executive Order Listening Sessions

(Newark, NJ) Hidden toxic chemicals that are manufactured, stored, and transported throughout New Jersey are the focus of the “Listening Sessions” in Newark, as directed by President Obama’s Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Safety and Security. “Listening Sessions” are being held at various locations across the country. A chemical disaster in the New Jersey-New York area could kill or injure thousands of people within minutes according the US Naval Research Laboratory.

News Release, February 17, 2014

Chemical Disaster in Baton Rouge? President Obama Executive Order Listening Sessions

(New Orleans, LA) Hidden toxic chemicals that are manufactured, stored, and transported throughout Louisiana are the focus of the “Listening Session” in Baton Rouge, as directed by an Executive Order  (EO) from President Obama called Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Safety and Security. “Listening Sessions” are being held at various locations across the country.

News Release, February 11, 2014

Toxic Threats to People of Color; Gathering of Environmental Justice leaders in Denver

(Denver, CO) Juan Parras, executive director of the Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.) in Houston, TX, is on the front line of a chemical disaster wiping out the entire Manchester community in Houston. Hundreds of chemical storage facilities in Houston are located in low-income communities and communities of color.  Parras explains, “Today is the 20th Anniversary of Executive Order 12898, to address Environmental Justice in 'Minority' and Low Income Populations, issued by President Clinton. We came to Denver to celebrate our successes, but more importantly, we came because the work is far from done.”

News Release, January 21, 2014

Chemical Disaster in Houston? President Obama Executive Order Listening Sessions

(Houston, TX) Hidden toxic chemicals stored and transported throughout Texas are the focus of the “Listening Session” in Houston, as directed by an Executive Order (EO) from President Obama called Executive Order 13650 - Improving Chemical Safety and Security. “Listening Sessions” are being held at various locations across the country. The EO was created in response to the West, Texas explosion that killed 15 people in April, 2013. Since then, there have been a multitude of plant explosions and train derailments. On January 9th, a West Virginia chemical spill devastated the watershed of 9 counties leaving 300,000 people without drinking water. Just before Christmas, an explosion near Mossville, Louisiana sickened motorists driving by the plant, sending them to the hospital. 

News Release, January 6, 2014

Chemical Disasters in California? President Obamas Executive Order on Chemical Security Listening Sessions

(Sacramento, CA) In the wake of the chemical disaster that killed 14 in West, Texas, President Obama issued an executive order on August 1st, 2013, requiring the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor to coordinate their activities to propose new policies that will significantly enhance the safety and security of thousands of chemical facilities across the U.S. 

News Release, December 21, 2013

Toxic Fumes Engulf Mossville Community; Axiall explosion and fire worse than reported

(Mossville, LA) Although Axiall corporate and local government officials announced the “all clear” for Friday’s fire at the Axiall plant in Westlake, Louisiana, nearby residents say that the toxic smoke from the fire was overwhelming, threatening, and that contamination in the community goes beyond short term smoke in the area.

News Release, November 13, 2013

Are Toxic Chemical Disasters a National Threat? EPA, DHS, OSHA Hold Meeting to Hear from Experts On Threat From Chemicals

(Washington, DC) The Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA) in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  and the Department of Labor’s Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)  is holding a "listening session" about the threat of chemical disaster and health hazards for communities living near chemical plants and routes where chemicals are transported, on Friday, November 15, 2013, 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. easternin Washington, DC. The session is one of several prompted by the explosion in West, Texas, and other areas.

News Release, November 1, 2013

Chemical Disasters: EPA Holds Meeting in Texas to Hear from Communities

(Houston, TX) EPA is holding a "listening session" about the threat of chemical disaster and health hazards for communities living near chemical plants on Tuesday, November 5th, 8am in Texas City. The session is one of several prompted by the explosion in West,Texas and other areas.

Blog Post, October 29, 2013

Knowledge is Key with Chemical Safety Policy

EPA blog by Michele Roberts, Co-Director of the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform.

Blog Post, October 20, 2013

Much Work Remains in the West

Opinion piece in Chron by Juan Parras, founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services in Houston and Katherine McFate, president and CEO of the Center for Effective Government

News Release, July 22, 2013

Residents of Contaminated Community to be Relocated Away from Toxic Chemicals Exposure; Many residents have died and are sick from chemical plant exposures

(Mossville, LA) The people of Mossville, Louisiana, living in the shadow of chronic toxic chemicals exposure from 14 petrochemical facilities, will have the opportunity to voluntarily relocate, according to a statement announced Friday by the South African-based energy and chemicals company, Sasol. Mossville is an historic African American community located in southwest Louisiana.

News Release, May 23, 2013

Toxic Chemicals Reform Bill: Statement from Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform

(Washington, DC) Michele Roberts and Richard Moore, spokespersons for the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, provide these comments on the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act” introduced yesterday by Senators Frank Lautenberg and David Vitter.

News Release, December 11, 2011

Refinery Explosions Near Houston; Residents Shelter in Place

(PASADENA, TX) Pasadena Refining System, Inc. plant located off of 100 Traffic Circle at Red Bluff apparently has had two explosions with a fire in their coker unit. Local ABC News is reporting at least two people injured.

News Release, October 3, 2011

Toxic Chemicals in Texas Fire Threaten Communities; Lax regulations on chemicals puts everyone at risk

(Houston, TX) Responding to the news of a terrible fast-moving fire in the Dallas suburban community of Waxahachie, Bryan Parras from Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Service (t.e.j.a.s.) says, “The people who live around these facilities are the real victims. They live in a constant state of 'shock' that one day an accident will occur and their families will be exposed to the many 'unknown' chemicals on site. The firefighters and first responders are the second victims who come to the scene ignorant of the chemicals being stored inside. How is one expected to protect themselves or others without that knowledge beforehand? No child should have to be removed from school because of an industrial chemical fire.”

News Release, April 14, 2011

Chemical Reform Urgent for People of Color and Low Income Communities; Underserved communities disproportionately impacted by failed regulatory policy and resulting illness

(Washington, DC) The Environmental Justice & Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform is watching how Congress handles introduction of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 proposed today by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) to reform the nation’s chemical regulations, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). Senator Boxer (D-CA), Senator Schumer (D-NY) and Senator Klobuchar (D-MN) are co-sponsors of the new legislation. The Act has provisions on some long standing environmental justice concerns, including a new program to identify and specifically address communities that are toxic "hot spots" and consideration of the cumulative exposure of chemicals.

News Release, April 7, 2010

Environmental Justice Groups Tell Congress: Protect Us from Toxic Chemicals; Communities of color most at risk for health effects linked to chemical exposure

(Washington, DC) Letters went to both the Senate and the House today demanding stronger protections for disproportionately impacted communities of color, Indigenous communities, as well as low-income communities in the upcoming reform of U.S. laws governing toxic chemicals – the Toxic Substance Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).