The fertilizer plant that exploded on in West, Texas in April, wiping out part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
And while state regulatory officials were aware (assuming they read the filings from the fertilizer plant) of the massive quantity of ammonium nitrate and anhydrous being stored at West Fertilizer, it wasn't their job to notify the DHS.
A 2006 permit application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality noted the facility had the capacity to process up to 2,400 tons of ammonium nitrate. In 2012, West Fertilizer informed the Texas Department of State Health Services that 270 tons of ammonium nitrate and 55 tons of anhydrous were on hand at the facility.
Those figures never went reported - state officials were not required to do so - to the federal Department of Homeland Security, which has kept a database of fertilizer storage spots following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. In that attack, which killed 168, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols constructed a bomb using roughly 5,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate fertilizer.