DECEMBER 27, 2005
It’s difficult to believe that U.S. government officials have taken more than four years after the September 11 attacks to even propose a plan that will secure chemical plants, which are extremely vulnerable to terrorist attacks.
The chemical industry in this country self-regulates 15,000 plants nationwide on a voluntary basis and, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, 123 facilities each has the potential to kill 1 million people.
Only this week did the Senate propose a plan, which must be approved in the House, to make these potentially lethal plants safer. The bipartisan plan would allow states to set security standards and the Homeland Security Department to shut down facilities that repeatedly fail to create, update and submit security plans.
The American Chemistry Council, which represents numerous companies, has been urging Congress to act on plant security since the September 2001 terrorist attacks and weclomed the legislation.
So, why has the government taken so long to initiate this important anti-terrorism legislation? Perhaps an editorial in the New York Times has the answer; That the chemical industry contributes heavily to political campaigns and has used its influence in Washington to block these efforts.
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