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New questions about cause of massive Texas chemical plant blast

At TPC Group’s massive, aging petrochemical plant in Port Neches. Texas, near the Gulf Coast, tit was not supposed to be like this. In 2017, the company reached a deal with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to aggressively monitor the air surrounding the facility for 1,3 butadiene — a highly flammable, carcinogenic chemical that had been leaking from the site — and to take speedy corrective action when there was a violation.

What happened next is truly incredible. Records obtained by the Texas Tribune show that instead of going down, toxic emissions at the Port Neches plant soared. On at least three days in the summer and fall of 2019, levels of butadiene at the plant’s fence line spiked to as much as 29 times the level that scientists believe is safe for short-term human exposure.