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EPA Files Suit against Chemcentral

By Laura Spencer and Maria Carter

Kansas City, MO – The Enivronmental Protection Agency has filed a civil complaint against the company whose Kansas City distribution plant exploded in February. The EPA maintains Chemcentral violated federal laws before the explosion, failing to identify hazardous substances and maintain a safe facility. George Hess is a senior specialist for EPA's Region 7 office. He says the EPA action is justified because the fire could have been prevented.

George Hess: "And I think the conclusion that we came to was that fire was a preventable event...because of that, the agency felt like it was necessary to do some follow-up enforcement action."

Chemcentral has 30 days to request a hearing or pay the fine of 430-thousand dollars. A Chemcentral spokeswoman says the company plans to contest the allegations. Last week, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA alleged employees at the Kansas City plant were not properly trained to handle some hazardous materials and fined the company more than 120-thousand dollars. Two workers were injured and most of the plant destroyed in the February incident.

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