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Gov. Perry: Lack of Oversight Not to Blame for West Explosion

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says a lack of state oversight is not to blame for the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West.

Gov. Perry told the Associated Press the explosion would not have been prevented if the state had earmarked more money for inspections. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality inspected the West Fertilizer Company for an air quality permit in 2007.

Over the years, federal and state agencies fined the fertilizer plant for violations. The plant was also cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for not having an up-to-date risk management plan. A new plan was submitted in 2011.

Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire that led to the explosion.

Bryan Shaw, chairman of the TCEQ, said he does not believe that the final investigation will show that anhydrous ammonia was responsible.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are planning to be in Texas this week to honor the first responders killed in the explosion.

The memorial for the 12 fallen firefighters and EMS personnel is scheduled for Thursday on the campus of Baylor University in Waco. Two civilians were also killed.

Note: This post has been updated to more accurately reflect the inspection history at the West Fertilizer Company.


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