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EPA Statement on Reported Explosion at Chemical Plant in Crosby, Texas

08/31/2017
Contact Information: 
 

WASHINGTON — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt released the following statement on the report of an explosion at an Arkema facility in Crosby, Texas that occurred in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey:

"EPA’s focus is on the safety of those around the facility and we urge those in the area to follow the safety instructions of local authorities. EPA is providing assistance and resources to the first responders in Harris County and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

“EPA has emergency response personnel on the scene and the Agency is currently reviewing data received from an aircraft that surveyed the scene early this morning.  This information indicates that there are no concentrations of concern for toxic materials reported at this time.  
 
"We will consider using any authority we have to further address the situation to protect human health and the environment."

Additional Background:

At approximately 2:45 a.m. CT this morning the National Response Center received a report from Arkema concerning a reported explosion at their facility in Crosby, Texas.  
 
As described in the National Contingency Plan (a federal regulation under the CERCLA statute), EPA is required to prepare for and respond to any release or threat of release of oil, hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants into the environment that may present an imminent and substantial threat to public health or welfare and the environment.

As a result, EPA has deployed an ASPECT aircraft to secure chemical information from the smoke cloud and EPA’s federal on-scene coordinator will arrive shortly to ensure all federal resources are available to first responders. EPA is also sending additional air monitoring personnel and equipment to augment the current efforts of the state and local first responders, and monitoring teams from Houston will arrive on-scene in the next few hours. 
 
EPA provides the Co-Chair of the Region 6 standing Regional Response Team, a group federal agencies that support a response, and provides pre-designated On-Scene Coordinators for the inland zone. The Coast Guard is the other Co-Chair. EPA is responsible for providing expertise regarding ecological and environmental effects of pollution releases and environmental pollution control techniques

There is a 1.5-mile radius exclusion area around the explosion site and EPA personnel are getting as close to the scene as possible. Currently, a zone has been set by the local fire marshal to protect the area from potential additional explosions.