Texas legislators eye tougher rules on chemical tanks to prevent explosions, spills during storms

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Texas lawmakers are pushing to require new standards on above-ground chemical storage tanks during the upcoming legislative session. Credit: Edmund D. Fountain/ProPublica/Texas Tribune

Deer Park residents sheltered in place. The Houston Ship Channel shut down. Toxic chemicals spilled during Hurricane Harvey. And just last month, seven people were injured in a Corpus Christi fire.

These are the incidents that some Texas lawmakers have in mind as they push to require new standards on above-ground chemical storage tanks during the upcoming legislative session.

The recent fire in Corpus Christi started at an oil storage tank. Another fire at a leaking tank farm at a petrochemical plant in Deer Park shut down the ship channel in March 2019 and created a huge plume of smoke that could be seen miles away. And during Hurricane Harvey in 2017, flooding caused the explosions at Arkema’s chemical power plant and damaged storage tanks that leaked thousands of gallons of gasoline.