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Greg Abbott Will Keep You Safe From Knowing Where Dangerous Chemicals Live, Even If They Are Right Next Door

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It's pretty clear that unless something really unexpected happens or we can unskew the ever-living-fuck out of some polls, Wendy Davis is probably not going to be the next governor of the lone Star State. That's pretty awful on its face, but it is worse when you remember that the person who will be the governor is current Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who is as craven a slice of dickweed as they come. Were you terrified by the environmental safety priorities, or lack thereof, of Rick Perry? Then you're going to LOVE Greg Abbott when he is governor, especially with his super cool idea about how to find out if companies are storing dangerous blow-uppy chemicals like the ones that blew West, Texas (not West Texas) sky high: drive around and ask them!


“You know where they are if you drive around,” Abbott told reporters Tuesday. “You can ask every facility whether or not they have chemicals or not. You can ask them if they do, and they can tell you, well, we do have chemicals or we don’t have chemicals, and if they do, they tell which ones they have.” [...]

Abbott said homeowners who think they might live near stores of dangerous chemicals could simply ask the companies near their homes what substances are kept on site.

Why didn't we think of that? We could avoid all these pesky things like laws and rules and regulations and instead live in a libertarian paradise and just all get in our cars and drive around to Ye Olde Chemical Wasteland Incorporated and just ask real nicely if they'd like to tell us about what explosive chemicals they keep on site and what they're doing to make them not accidentally blow up. And yes, there is a law in place that requires the company to tell you about it if you ask, but there's a few tiny little shortcomings to that law. Little things, really. Barely worth mentioning.

“Just to make clear, you may not be able to walk on private property. But you can send an email or letter or notice to anyone who owns any kind of private property or facility, saying that under the community right to know law, you need to tell me within 10 days what chemicals you have,” Abbott said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, you are obligated under that law to respond.” [...]

Abbott indicated that Texans would have to figure out themselves which facilities to ask, but he said people who are familiar with their communities — or places they might want to live — generally know that already.

So, you won't know where the chemicals actually live, and you can't necessarily go on corporate property to ask about it, but somehow this will all work out just fine.

You might wonder why the government couldn't just keep all this information for you, but Greg Abbott has an answer for that: terrorists, of course.

In a recently released decision by his office, Abbott [...] said government entities can withhold the state records — in so-called Tier II reports — of dangerous chemical locations. The reports contain an inventory of hazardous chemicals. [...]

Abbott contends the state is required to withhold the data under state homeland security exemptions, because evildoers could use it to gain access to the chemicals and terrorize communities.

Yes, if Texas compiles this information in a report, the terrorists will know where all the dangerous explosive chemicals are, and will go there and steal them like terrorists do. Except that Greg Abbott has foiled their evil plan by getting rid of those reports. Greg Abbott you are a goddamned genius.

Wait.

Can't those same terrorists just drive around or send emails or whatever, and the companies will be obliged under the law to say "oh hello, Mr. Terrorist Person. We do indeed keep thousands of pounds of super-explosive fertilizer on site, thanks for asking"? Sure, that's a bit more work than just demanding them from the government, but it seems like if you're really committed to being a terrorist, you'd make the extra effort to make a few phone calls or hop in the car.

We do not normally encourage people to move out of the South, because that is a bullshit thing to do as it tars a whole region with a big bad brush and there is plenty of stupid in the North also too. That said, perhaps if one lives near any chemical plants in Texas, one might consider relocating. Just a thought.

[Texas Tribune]

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