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Saturday, August 24, 2013

From this week's live radio show

We had Katie Greenhaw on this week from The Center for Effective Government, and one of the things we talked about, in addition to getting a great overview of their group and their work, is the dangerous of transporting and storing dangerous chemicals.  Here's a brief clip from an article you can find on their web site:  http://www.foreffectivegov.org/updated-database-reveals-significant-chemical-risks-are-distributed-across-country

The Distribution of Toxic Chemicals

Exposure to toxic chemicals can cause a range of serious injuries, from minor irritation to severe tissue burns, cancer, and death, depending on the level and type of exposure. These chemicals are particularly dangerous if they become airborne because they can expose children, the elderly, and families in nearby communities to risk with little warning. Anhydrous ammonia, for example, is used as a nitrogen fertilizer, and exposure to small quantities can cause burning of the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs, while greater exposure can be lethal due to throat swelling or chemical burns to the lungs.
Currently, registered facilities have reported 14.4 billion pounds of 71 different toxic chemicals. The most common toxic chemicals include anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, propylene oxide, vinyl acetate monomer, and acrylonitrile. These types of chemicals must be reported when quantities exceed a chemical-specific threshold. For example, a risk management plan must be submitted if a facility has more than 2,500 pounds of chlorine; ammonia must be reported if the quantity exceeds 10,000 pounds.
Texas has the greatest amount of toxic chemicals in the country, with more than 2.2 billion pounds stored in the almost 2,000 facilities across the state. The most abundant toxic chemical in the state is anhydrous ammonia (589 million pounds), but the most ubiquitous is chlorine (used at 662 facilities).
Illinois, Iowa, North Dakota, and Ohio are the only other states that store over 1 billion pounds of toxic chemicals. The Clarksfield Branch facility in Wakeman, OH, alone houses 1.1 billion pounds of anhydrous ammonia, which is the largest quantity of a toxic chemical in a single facility.
With respect to toxic chemical accidents, Louisiana has had a higher quantity of toxic chemicals (383,032 pounds) involved in accidents than any other state. The most common toxic chemicals in the state include anhydrous ammonia, chlorine, acrylonitrile, chloroform, and ethylene oxide, which are used in a range of commercial and industrial processes and pose a variety of health concerns.

Some info on Katie:  
Katie Greenhaw works in the Center for Effective Government's Regulatory Policy program as a Regulatory Policy Analyst. Her work focuses on the regulatory and rulemaking processes that impact public health, safety, and the environment.
Prior to joining the Center for Effective Government, Katie served as a law clerk for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in both a regional office and at the national headquarters. In this role, she helped enforce health and environmental standards in communities with unique local challenges.
Katie found her work with the EPA to be particularly rewarding, as it allowed her to see how health and environmental protections improve the quality of air, drinking water, and other crucial resources for the public. Through her work, she saw how states and tribes can work together in cooperation with EPA to achieve a better quality of life for their citizens.
Katie most recently worked on a rulemaking effort in EPA’s Office of Compliance. She has also served as an intern on Capitol Hill and worked for a civil legal clinic representing underprivileged clients.
Katie holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University. While pursuing her law degree, Katie spent a summer in Venice, Italy, studying international law. In 2007, Katie earned her B.A. in music from the College of Charleston. In addition to performing with the College of Charleston Opera, she has also performed with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, and at the Spoleto festival in Charleston, SC, where she sang a lead soprano role in Mozart’s The Impresario.
Katie is currently pursuing an Environmental Master of Laws from George Washington University.

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