A U.S. company tried — but failed — to block release of a video showing release of a hazardous chemical and a resulting fire, arguing it would “raise substantial issues of national security.”
Despite the request by CITGO not to release the video, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board made it public.
The CSB is involved in an ongoing investigation of the July 19, 2009, explosion and fire at the company’s refinery in Corpus Christi, TX. One person was injured and another treated for possible chemical exposure.
As part of an interim report, the CSB released the video showing a pipe failure, release of fumes, and the resulting fire. The video shows the spread of the flammable vapor cloud and the moment when the flammable vapor was ignited. It’s a vivid picture of the severity of the release and fire.
CITGO asked CSB not to release the video on national security grounds saying that it would “only sensationalize this unfortunate accident.”
The CSB received the OK to release the video from the Department of Homeland Security, which said the footage didn’t fall under certain classifications requiring protection from disclosure.
A new law prohibits companies from classifying safety information as “sensitive” in an effort to keep it from becoming public. The law was in response to the August 2008 Bayer CropScience explosion in West Virginia that killed two.
The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee accused Bayer of withholding critical information from emergency responders and investigators and the CSB.
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