APRIL 25, 2006
A well-known environmentalist critical of Bill Clinton’s lax chemical plant security laws has published a report complimenting facilities for reducing the use of dangerous chemicals which in turn diminishes the chances of a toxic terrorist attack.
The 44-page report called Preventing Toxic Terrorism reveals that, since the 2001 attacks on the U.S., 284 facilities in 47 states have dramatically reduced the danger of chemical release into nearby communities by switching to less acutely hazardous materials.
The biggest improvements have occurred at sewage and treatment plants which have replaced chlorine gas with liquid chlorine bleach or ultraviolet light. Additionally, 29 manufacturing or power plants have also switched to safer chemicals, including companies in Tennessee, Iowa and Arizona.
More than 14,000 chemical plants across the country store or use extremely hazardous substances that can kill residents of nearby communities if released. The Department of Homeland Security has warned that terrorists could turn those hazardous materials into weapons of mass destruction. The Environmental Protection Agency has put the population at risk by the plants at about 38 million.
Much of the danger was created under the Clinton Administration, which failed to conduct a Congress-mandated site security study of chemical plants back in 2000. Additionally, Clinton created rules that severely restricted the public’s right to know or access information on the dangers presented by many of the facilities. The author of the new study, Paul Orum, said at the time Clinton’s policy of secrecy plus inaction made no sense and he had a do-nothing response to dangerous practices in the chemical industry.
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