Saving America – Page 5

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of ammonium nitrate registered as a small earthquake and razed large parts of the town nearby. The plant was not in compliance with OSHA standards and had not been inspected since 1985. And these explosions just keep happening. In the six months after the West tragedy, ten major chemical disasters occurred in the United States according to the States News Service.

Nuclear power plants, long considered to be among the safest forms of power production, are also showing signs of aging. An Associated Press investigation in 2011 found that of America’s sixty- five nuclear power plants, 75 percent have leaked a radioactive form of hydrogen. What’s most frightening is that plant operators have not been able to figure out how to quickly detect leaks in the event that they occur. A follow-up investigation by Congress found that these leaks can go undetected for years and show no signs of abating. At least our government knew that the I-35 bride was structurally deficient; heck, they even put it on a list. They just didn’t do anything about it. When it comes to nuclear power plants, government inspectors haven’t even bothered to scrutinize adequately the very plants they are responsible for overseeing.

We’d like to think that our water is safe, but that, too, is wishful thinking. In 2014, a chemical spill near a water treatment facility in Charleston, West Virginia, sickened hundreds of people with rashes, nausea, and vomiting and left three hundred thousand more without clean tap water for drinking, bathing, or washing. Roughly five thou-sand gallons of an industrial chemical used in coal mining gave tap water in the region a “sweet, licorice- like smell,” prompting public officials to declare an emergency and sending “ near- panicked residents in search of fresh water.”

Sixty-year-old Curtis Walls was in the tub when his wife frantically told him to get out. Jason Eldridge, thirty- five, skipped work and drove for hours in surrounding towns to find water to take home, where his two- year- old daughter suffered flu- like symptoms. He never found the water he sought. The Governor implored people not to panic, but few listened. On the streets, conditions deteriorated with each passing hour. Some citizens posted on Internet discussion boards that neighbors were becoming violent in their quest for water. “It’s survival of the fittest,” one woman wrote in her description of the general hysteria she witnessed. Next Page