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The Refinery Blast



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That recent explosion at the Silver Eagle Refinery that sent shock waves through nearby neighborhoods should reverberate resoundingly in city halls and with planning and zoning commissions statewide.

To look at the damage done to nearby homes underscores the power of the blast as well as how fortunate it is that no one was injured when a 10-inch pipe carrying hydrogen failed and the gas ignited.

Some will question the safety record of the Silver Eagle Refinery, and rightly so after two significant accidents at the facility this year. The most pressing question, though, is why the city of Woods Cross authorized zoning changes that allowed the construction of residential dwellings immediately adjacent to the refinery. That decision is especially curious since refinery protocols make reference to potential "blast zones." It will be debated, and most likely litigated.

Meantime, let other officials throughout the state who are responsible for deciding where projects can be built think long and hard about their decisions, especially when engineering studies, and even common sense, suggest the possibility of danger.

Whether a proposed development is near a fault line, in flood zones, or around potentially dangerous industrial facilities, the safety of citizens should take precedence over pressure from developers.

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