06-23-2018  4:56 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for...

CNN Staff

(CNN) -- The fertilizer plant that blew up in Texas last week warned state and local officials but not federal agencies that it had 270 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate on site, according to regulatory records.

The April 17 fire and explosion at West Fertilizer Co. killed 14 people and devastated the small town of West, Texas. Investigators have said they're not sure how much ammonium nitrate was actually on site at the time of the explosion, however, since plant records were destroyed in the blast.

The company sold ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia, both commonly used as fertilizers. It had notified state and local emergency management officials of its stock of both in its most recent declaration of hazardous chemicals, filed in February.

However, the risk management plan it filed with the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2011 mentioned only anhydrous ammonia, which produces suffocating fumes and can cause burns if mishandled. The plan listed as a worst-case scenario "the release of the total contents of a storage tank released as a gas over 10 minutes" and did not warn of the risks of explosion.

Federal law requires any operation that holds more than a ton of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate to report that stock to the Department of Homeland Security. Proposed new rules would cut that to 25 pounds. But Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate subcommittee Tuesday that West Fertilizer doesn't appear to have reported its ammonium nitrate stock to federal officials, adding, "We're following up on that."

In a statement issued earlier this week, after the first lawsuit against it was filed in connection with the explosion, the company said its focus "remains on the fact finding."

"We continue to do everything we can to understand what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in any community," it said. "To that end, the owners and staff of West Fertilizer Co. are working closely with investigating agencies. We have encouraged all employees to assist in the fact finding to whatever degree possible."

Among the dead was plant foreman Cody Dragoo, who was also a member of the town's volunteer fire department.

The explosion happened about 20 minutes after the first report of a fire there. It registered on seismographs as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and could be felt 50 miles away.

Last week's explosion damaged numerous houses, a nursing home and the town's high school and middle school, all of which were built within a few hundred feet of the plant. That's raised concern about similar facilities in other towns, both in rural communities like West and major cities like Houston, the heart of the oil industry.

"I know there's hundreds of public schools on the fenceline or very close to these industrial plants," said Neil Carman, a former Texas Department of Environmental Quality inspector now working for the state Sierra Club. "I wouldn't be surprised if it's over 1,000."

Zoning restrictions are rare in the state, and Carman said there have been thousands of complaints from neighborhoods in areas like Houston, Beaumont and Corpus Christi, home to numerous oil refineries.

West Fertilizer had been twice cited by federal regulators twice since 2006.

In 2012, the Transportation Department's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration fined West Fertilizer $5,250 for storing anhydrous ammonia in tanks that lacked the proper warning labels. The agency originally recommended a $10,000 penalty, but it was reduced after the company took corrective action.

In 2006, the EPA fined it $2,300 owners to correct problems that included a failure to file a risk management program plan on time. The TCEQ also investigated a complaint about the lingering smell of ammonia around the plant the same year.

 

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