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Joe Pickett
Texas inches to tighter rules 2 years after fertilizer blast

One chamber of the Texas Legislature passed the first measure to regulate the storage of chemicals since a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West more than two years ago, killing 15 people and devastating a wide area around the plant. The Texas House gave preliminary approval to strengthening some rules for storing ammonium nitrate, a highly flammable but commonly used chemical in agricultural fertilizers. The proposal was advanced by Republican Rep. Kyle Kacal, whose district includes West, where the explosion on April 17, 2013 destroyed a large swath of the town. The fire at the West Fertilizer Co. ignited in a seed room and quickly engulfed an area where ammonium nitrate was...