Great Moments In Corporate Citizenship

The West, Texas fertilizer plant carried only $1 million in liability insurance, reports AP:

Tyler lawyer Randy C. Roberts said he and other attorneys who have filed lawsuits against West Fertilizer’s owners were told Thursday that the plant carried only $1 million in liability insurance. Brook Laskey, an attorney hired by the plant’s insurer to represent West Fertilizer Co., confirmed the amount Saturday in an email to The Associated Press, after the Dallas Morning News first reported it.

“The bottom line is, this lack of insurance coverage is just consistent with the overall lack of responsibility we’ve seen from the fertilizer plant, starting from the fact that from day one they have yet to acknowledge responsibility,” Roberts said.

Roberts said he expects the plant’s owner to ask a judge to divide the $1 million in insurance money among the plaintiffs, several of whom he represents, and then file for bankruptcy.

He said he wasn’t surprised that the plant was carrying such a small policy.

“It’s rare for Texas to require insurance for any kind of hazardous activity,” he said. “We have very little oversight of hazardous activities and even less regulation.”

A $1 million policy is not gonna do squat for West, Texas or the 14 families who lost a loved one, or those 200 injured people. But I guess the glorious free hand of the market will be there for them, right? That and federal disaster aid, of course!

By the way, maybe in addition to all of the prayers and moments of silence, the Texas House and Senate might want to pass a few regulations to help ensure something like this doesn’t happen again. After all, taxpayers all around the country are going to be footing the bill for the negligence of a Texas business — and the failure of Texas legislators to adequately regulate their dangerous industries. So yes, Gov. Rick Perry, as long as we all have to pay for it, you can take your “states rights” and shove it, you arrogant phony cowboy.

And since we’re talking about this, Texas is starting to look an awful lot like Bangladesh and China. Except in those places, the evil business owners are arrested.


Filed under corporations, Texas

24 responses to “Great Moments In Corporate Citizenship

  1. Except in those places, the evil business owners are arrested.
    Except the finance minister of Bangladesh is apparently a Texan:
    (AP buried the lede, way, way down)

    In New Delhi on Friday, Bangladesh Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith downplayed the impact of the disaster on the garment industry, which is by far the country’s biggest source of export income.

    “The present difficulties … well, I don’t think it is really serious — it’s an accident,” Muhith said. “And the steps that we have taken in order to make sure that it doesn’t happen, they are quite elaborate and I believe that it will be appreciated by all.”

    • GACK.

      He must moonlight as Cumberland County Coroner Gary White. White is the guy who, after a 5 year old shot and killed his 2 year old sister, called it “just one of those crazy accidents!”


  2. democommie

    Not to go off on tangenital rant but…

    I know lots of people who work at some of the local nukes. I also have sparred with some folks from TX among other states that say:

    “Alternative power sources will never be economically viable like fossil fuels and nuclear power.”

    When I think of how cheap fossil fuel is, I think “Iraq”.

    When I think of how cheap nuclear power is, I think Price-Anderson.

    Without the Price-Anderson Act limiting their liability, nuclear power plants would be priced right out of the market on the basis of their sunk cost of insurance.

    When I did carpentry, a one man show, I carried $600K in general liability.

    The party of personal responsibility, my ass.

    • When I think of how cheap nuclear power is, I think Price-Anderson.

      Thank you. I’ve been banging that drum since the 1980s.

      Anyway, nuclear power is cheap when you harness the power of that great nuclear reactor in the sky: the sun.


      • and nevermind the technical aspects of design that have advanced in the past 50 years – things like Thorium pebble-bed reactors that are worlds safer than the idiotic 50s-era fissionables and designs that GE keeps propped up by buying legislation to hobble anything else…

      • I know – all uranium-fueled BWR reactors, stuck right where a hurricane or other natural event could wreak havoc, and operated to maximize profit.

        I’d honestly prefer they throw money at fusion-power and smart-grid research, but what do I know… ~:|

  3. Ruckus

    I carried a million dollars liability insurance for my bicycle shop. I would have carried more but could not afford it as the insurance was sold in steps, the next step being 5 million. I also did not handle dangerous chemicals that could explode. And I made sure that customers understood and could properly handle new equipment they were unfamiliar with.
    A fertilizer plant with only a million in insurance? That in of itself should be criminal. Of course that’s not the only thing in this case. The only consistent ideal that I see in modern life is that the rich are never to be slowed in any fashion in their greedy theft of all the money. That lives may be lost or ruined in this endeavor is of absolutely no importantamce to this goal.

    • That in of itself should be criminal.

      Of course! But it’s Texas, where “low regulations” and “low taxes” allow the free market to boom, unfettered, free, freeeee, freeeeeeeeeeeeee BOOOM.

      I am having a hard time feeling sorry for the people of Texas. They voted for this shit.

      • just remember – there are Texans who despise this kind of behavior, just like there are pro-choice Kansans. 🙂

        problem is, Money == Free Speech now, and actual speech == fartgas… 😦

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  5. Mary Wilson

    Yep, and while we are dumping on the Idiot Perry, we must not forget that he cut thousands off his ‘Medicaid rolls’, refused to accept the Billions in ACA money to provide medical insurance. Now the thousands of poor and uninsured who were victims of this greed-generated disaster…they will all have to suffer because Rick Perry hates them for living.

  6. democommie

    “Now the thousands of poor and uninsured who were victims of this greed-generated disaster…they will all have to suffer because Rick Perry hates them for living.”

    Along with all of the taxpayers and covered individuals whose taxes, fees and insurance rates continue to skyrocket, due in no small part to the “unfunded” mandate of hospitals (at least the ones run by people with any fucking morals or ethics) having to deliver the most expensive types of care, ER and end stage (terminal) care. The same idiots who chant about not giving anyone a “free ride” are the ones who piss and moan the loudest about how expensive all healthcare is. Fucking morons.

      • democommie

        Ummmmm, I love the aroma of GOPinheads roasting in the light of day.

      • deep

        Holy fuckballs Beale, that’s insane! Jeez, sometimes, I think I’m really sheltered here in old blue-state Massachusetts and I have no idea the insanity people like you have to deal with in your redder-than-red red states. ‘Round here our schoolboard elections are boring as balls and most people avoid the jobs because the schoolboard are the people who get yelled at for every little thing.

      • Oh, Nashville’s school board race drew national money last time. We’ve got a big battle waging here over vouchers and charter schools.

      • democommie


        I used to live in MA/NH (thirty three years of border hopping) and my experience was that school board members in rethuglican enclaves (and yes, there are some in MA) tend to be fiscally conservative to the point of being ludicrous. Back when Shameless Ray Shamie was a mover and shaker in Bay State Politics he had the same rhetoric as a lot of today’s teabaggists.

        I just had a local tell me that her daddy was running for the school board, now that he’s retired from 30 years service with the local district. He was a supervisor, for maintenance, and he likes him some JESUS. I think that those credentials and his “been here all m’life” cred ought to ’bout do it. After all, it’s always better to elect someone that you know, even if you know they’re a moron.

  7. Do you know insurance companies absolutely approve of federal regulaltions? I wonder why the he insurance company failed to check out if the fertilizer plant was following federal regulations.

  8. democommie

    @ renxkyoko:

    An excellent question and one that should be brought up at the next shareholder’s meeting of that insurer. Lax fiduciary interest is to insurance companies (and most others) what diddling altar boys is to the RCC; publically condemned and privately pursued.

    • I dunno, if there is no state requirement that hazardous industries carry sufficient liability insurance to cover losses then why would the insurance company care? They’ll pay out their million dollar claim, West Fertilizer will declare bankruptcy to absolve itself of further obligations, and in a year or so will reopen its doors under another name. Freeeeedom!

      • democommie

        West is owned by Adair Grain (also of West, Tx–there are a number of companies across the U.S. with that name).

        This link:

        has a rather nasty, “recommend” comment.

        If it can be proven that Adair has corporate responsibility for West Fertilizer then at least TWO companies will have to be “disappeared”.