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The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board on Thursday released an extensive investigation into the flooding-induced chemical fires at the Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, finding that while the company's insurers flagged the high potential for flooding a year before Harvey, plant employees were unaware of the risk.
A group of Texas first responders filed suit against chemical company Arkema Thursday, alleging the company did not adequately warn them of the risks of chemical exposure while they attended to a plant fire outside of Houston last week.
In the suit, the seven plaintiffs say they were "overwhelmed" by vomiting after coming in contact with fumes at the plant, describing a scene "nothing less than chaos."
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Thursday's explosions at the Harvey-damaged Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas have prompted criticism of the Trump administration's delay of an Obama-era chemical safety regulation that was designed to "improve chemical process safety, assist local emergency authorities in planning for and responding to accidents, and improve public awareness of chemical hazards at regulated source."
The 2013 Risk Management Program rule was developed after a Texas fertilizer plant in the city of West exploded in 2013 and killed 15 people. However, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt the program on hold for two years in order to reconsider industry objections.