Chemical Security Legislation Must Include Safer Technologies

A subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee marked up the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008 today. 

We applaud Chairwoman Jackson Lee and the subcommittee for taking action to protect our nation’s chemical plants.  More than six years after 9/11, the lack of a comprehensive federal program to regulate chemical plant security leaves a hole in our nation’s defenses and places millions of Americans at risk.  Congress must close this hole by passing legislation to defend against terrorist threats and reduce or eliminate the consequences of an attack. 

The chemical security bill begins to address the deficiencies in our nation’s chemical plant defenses, and should continue to improve as it moves through the Homeland Security Committee. 

We strongly support the requirement of facilities to use safer technologies, such as the use of safer chemicals, to reduce the consequence of a chemical release.  Requiring companies to use safer chemicals, particularly when safer and cost-effective technologies are available, is the common-sense way to make chemical plants safer and more secure.  

Congress should pass legislation that replaces dangerous chemical operations with feasible safer technologies, integrates employee participation in safety and security initiatives, and protects the ability of state and local governments to implement more stringent health, safety and security requirements.