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EPA scales back rules put in place after deadly 2013 blast at Texas fertilizer plant

The Obama era rules came after a 2013 fire caused an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company, killing 15 people and injuring more than 260.
Credit: AP
FILE - A smashed car sits in front of an apartment complex destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, as firefighters conduct a search and rescue Thursday, April 18, 2013.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Trump administration is scaling back chemical plant safety measures that were put in place after a Texas fertilizer plant explosion in 2013 that killed 15 people.

The changes announced Thursday by the Environmental Protection Agency include ending a requirement that plants provide members of the public information about chemical risks upon request.

The Obama era rules followed a fire at the West Fertilizer Co. plant that caused ammonium nitrate to ignite, triggering a massive explosion that ripped open a large crater. Ten firefighters were among those killed.

EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler says the changes do away with “unnecessary administrative burdens.” Chemical manufacturers had pushed for the changes.

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Environmental groups criticized the decision as one that would put people living near chemical plants at greater risk.