State agency: Info related to Athens fertilizer facility should - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

State agency: Info related to Athens fertilizer facility should be confidential

Athens fertilizer fire. (Source: Viewer photo) Athens fertilizer fire. (Source: Viewer photo)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) - An additional state agency is fighting an open records request of documents related to the fertilizer facility that caught fire in Athens, May 29, forcing businesses and residents in a five-block radius to evacuate.

The Texas A&M University System (TAMUS), which oversees the Texas State Chemist's Office, filed the letter of appeal Tuesday to our request for inspection records on the East Texas Ag Supply facility on Larkin Street in Athens. 

TAMUS filed the appeal that stated the information should be considered confidential under the Texas Homeland Security Act. That act, passed in 2003 by the Texas Legislature, protects items that may be components to an explosive weapon.

However, in the aftermath of the West, Texas, explosion in 2013, we requested and received inspection information from the Texas State Chemist's Office. The office received so many requests after the incident, they posted the information publicly on their website.

The Texas Department of State Health Services filed a similar appeal on Monday relating to our request to get a copy of Tier Two reports that describe where and how much of a hazardous material are being stored in a given facility.

Click here to view documents previously released as public by state agencies.

Both appeals are going before the Texas Attorney General's Office, which has 45 days to rule on the information.

The Texas Department of Public Safety, which runs the state department of homeland security, said they have given no guidance to state agencies regarding keeping fertilizer-related information confidential.

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