I never thought West, Texas. would be on the Obama Administration’s radar. Then a fertilizer plant explosion this spring flattened the town, touching off finger pointing and revealing troubling flaws in chemical plant regulations. Add the swagger of Gov. Perry and a FEMA decision to deny disaster rebuilding funds, and West had the feel of a town in search of a friendly ear.
Much has changed in th past 24 hours. A House Subcommittee pointed out serious flaws that allowed crucial information about dangerous chemicals stored at the plant to elude regulators. Then the president signed an executive order directing federal agencies to do a better job of sharing information needed to properly monitor chemical storage. And this morning, FEMA reversed its earlier decision, and is now declaring West the site of a major disaster, which clears the way for West to receive federal funds to rebuild the city. The DMN pressed for such action in this recent editorial.