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Four-Year Anniversary Of The Imperial Sugar Plant Explosion

(Mr. BARROW asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. John Barrow

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, this day marks a sad anniversary for many of the folks I represent. Four years ago today, a combustible dust explosion destroyed the Imperial Sugar plant in Port Wentworth, Georgia, killing 14 people and injuring more than 40 others.

The sad truth is that this explosion didn't have to happen. Experts have known about the dangers of combustible dust for decades, and experts have developed industry standards that can prevent combustible dust explosions and fires. Unfortunately, these commonsense practices have not become the national standard despite preventable explosions and fires in Georgia and throughout America before and since.

Today, on the fourth anniversary of this tragedy, I ask my colleagues to support H.R. 522, the Worker Protection Against Combustible Dust Explosions and Fires Act of 2011, introduced by Mr. Miller of California. This law would require the Secretary of Labor to promulgate standards for regulating combustible dust.

We shouldn't wait until another disaster strikes. We owe it to the dead and the wounded to take action today so that disasters like the Imperial Sugar Plant explosion will never happen again.