The answer right now is we don't know. But that hasn't stopped plenty of people from pointing a finger, drawing conclusions and talking out of their rear ends. Did the West Fertilizer company do something wrong? Maybe, but we don't yet know. Was it a lack of regulatory oversight? Maybe, but we don't yet know. Was it a freak accident that could not have been prevented? Maybe, but we don't yet know.
As a guy who's supposed to have an opinion on everything, the words "I don't know" don't make for very compelling conversation most times. But I don't make policy, issue fines or file lawsuits. For those people - right now - "I don't know" and "we'll find out" are the only acceptable statements.
And then there's this gem I saw on facebook:
Maybe the creator of this has seen the results of the investigation that none of us in Texas have.
And to be fair, it's also not wise for Gov. Perry to say more state regulation would not have prevented this explosion (although the AP article has that statement in its headline, it never actually provides the quote where Perry said that specifically - just that Texans were comfortable with the level of regulation).
To be clear, we might find out that certain regulations could have changed things or there was fault on the part of the company or the government could have done more. But we don't know yet! But the lack of facts never got in the way of a good game of political blame or a stupid internet post, has it?
As the Texas Tribune notes, there are at least six different regulatory agencies in charge of the West facility. Bottom line: No single agency at the state or federal level has direct oversight of Texas' fertilizer plant — which is part of the reason it's been difficult to determine why the blast occurred and how it could've been prevented.