The PBF Energy refinery in Paulsboro, N.J., uses toxic chemicals such as hydrofluoric acid. Rather than using "inherently safer" design methods, the industry says, other safety measures are taken to prevent accidents like the one in West, Texas.
Credit Raveendran / AFP/Getty Images
In this photograph from 2009, children play in front of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, India. Twenty-five years prior, in 1984, it was the site of a deadly gas leak that killed thousands of people.
Credit Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images
The West Fertilizer Co., shown from the air, lies in ruins after an explosion that killed 15 people, injured more than 150 and damaged houses and buildings for blocks in every direction.
You might think that everything would have changed for the chemicals industry on April 16, 1947. That was the day of the Texas City Disaster, the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. A ship loaded with ammonium nitrate — the same chemical that appears to have caused the disaster last month in West, Texas — exploded. The ship sparked a chain reaction of blasts at chemical facilities onshore, creating what a newsreel at the time called "a holocaust that baffles description."
Heritage Action, the political activist offshoot of the conservative Heritage Foundation, has some advice for House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor: focus on the scandals plaguing the Obama administration and stay away from legislation that could "highlight major schisms" within the House Republican Conference.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we go to Ohio where black business owners are meeting to swap some new ideas. Basketball legend Magic Johnson even got a lead on an investment there. We'll tell you more about that in just a few minutes. But first, House Republicans voted yesterday to repeal President Obama's signature healthcare law - again.
I'm Celeste Headlee. This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away and it is time yet again for a visit to the Barbershop. That's where the guys talk about what's in the news, what's on their minds.
NPR's Ron Elving and National Political Correspondent Mara Liasson, sitting in for Ken Rudin, look back at the week of scandals rocking the Obama administration. The president says he's angry and fires the IRS chief for the agency's targeting of groups with names that include "Tea Party" and "patriot" for extra scrutiny. And Attorney General Eric Holder is back on Capitol Hill, this time testifying on the Justice Department's seizing of phone records of journalists.