Attorney General and Republican candidate for governor Greg Abbott has come under fire recently for his decision to change decades-old standards of a Texan's right to know if hazardous chemicals are stored in their neighborhoods after receiving a sizeable donation from the Koch family. Newspapers across Texas have criticized the decision, and after Abbott suggested that a person could just “drive around,” spot sites that looked hazardous, and ask what kinds of chemicals were stored there, media sources have also attempted to follow his advice – with little success.
This week, Rachel Maddow took on the issue in a 22 minute-long examination of hazardous chemical storage in Texas, campaign donations, and Greg Abbott's decision to put business interests ahead of Texas families.
Check out the full video below the jump.Maddow takes almost half an hour to delve into the underlying problems, such as a lack of a state fire code, that lead to dangerous chemical tragedies like last year's explosion in West, Texas. In the clip, Maddow points out that the factors that led to the unstable conditions in that facility are not an anomaly – another facility in Athens, Texas is poised to cause horrific damage should the wrong spark light the highly flammable fertilizer stored there.
In this light, Maddow suggests that it is ridiculous and irresponsible that the only change regarding dangerous chemicals in Texas to take place since that explosion is one put forth by Greg Abbott after a well-timed donation from the Koch family (who own a facility that also stores chemicals in Sweetwater, Texas) is one that makes it harder for Texans to discover whether there are hazardous chemicals stored in their neighborhoods.
Maddow ends the segment by bringing Wayne Slater, a reporter from Dallas who has been covering this controversy, on for an interview. Slater says that, most likely, Abbott “figured that nobody would notice” this change in policy, and he would be able to show businesses that he is the candidate for governor that is on their side.
Slater also said that the Davis campaign has been trying to frame Abbott as a “Texas Republican business-minded insider who protects his friends,” but for some voters, who see all politicians as insiders looking to protect their friends, that just isn't enough. For Slater, this incident could be the key to defining Abbott as worse than your average politician:
Not only [is Abbott]protecting his financial donors, his cronies, his friends, but he is doing it in a way that would affect your children, your neighbors, and your family.
If the Davis campaign can communicate this effectively, Slater continued, then maybe they are “onto something.”
The full video clip is below, and absolutely worth a watch.