Arkema, the company that owns the chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, that suffered at least two separate explosions on Thursday, successfully lobbied the Trump administration to delay new safety rules for chemical plants that were due to take effect this year.
The International Business Times reports that Obama-era regulations of chemical plants that were supposed to take effect this past March 14 "were halted by the Trump administration after a furious lobbying campaign by plant owner Arkema and its affiliated trade association, the American Chemistry Council, which represents a chemical industry that has poured tens of millions of dollars into federal elections."
In killing the new rules, the industry had the help of several Texas Republican lawmakers, including Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Joe Barton, Rep. Pete Olson, Rep. Pete Sessions and Rep. Kevin Brady. Democratic Texas Rep. Gene Green also lobbied to have the new regulations killed.
Arkema directly objected to the new proposed rules in a letter it sent to the EPA this past May, in which it said the rules "will likely add significant new costs and burdens to the corporate audit process."
According to the International Business Times, Arkema specifically took issue with new "Safer Technology and Alternatives Analysis” (STAA) rules that would have, among other things, encouraged companies to "simplify covered processes in order to make accidental releases less likely or the impacts of such releases less severe."