West Fertilizer Company - carried only $1 million dollars in insurance.
Saw an article about this on Jonathan Turley’s blog.
The West Fertilizer plant in West, Texas stored extremely dangerous chemicals on site. Tons of them. And, in light of the lack of any meaningful zoning laws in Texas, the plant was situated close to an elementary school; a nursing home and private residences. Finally, there have been reports of repeated break-ins as well as inadequate sprinkler systems at the plant. Add those facts up, and one would think that the plant would have layer, upon layer upon layer of insurance. But it didn’t. West Fertilizer carried a total of $1 million dollars in liability insurance. And West’s failure to have appropriate insurance coverage is not in violation of any state law. In Texas, fertilizer facilities are not required to carry insurance.
When the plant exploded last month, 15 people were killed. Most of them were first responders. An additional 200 people were injured and estimates as to property damage have run as high as $100 million dollars. And the only monies West, the cause of all that death and destruction, can offer is $1 million dollars. Lawyers for several people injured or killed in the blast have already acknowledged that it is unlikely victims of the explosion will ever obtain appropriate compensation. The photo above, courtesy of ABC News, shows the devastation after the blast.
Just days after the blast, Texas Governor Rick Perry was in Illinois, in an attempt to lure Illinois businesses to Texas. One of Perry’s talking points it that Texas is “pro-business” and doesn’t burden businesses with lots of regulations. Regulations presumably, that would require appropriate buffers between fertilizer plants and neighborhoods. Or regulations that would require appropriate insurance levels for manufacturers working with potentially deadly chemicals. Why would any state need silly regulations like that?