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Congress deliberating HR 2868 - the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009

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<-- Chemical Terrorism and Security

Source: U.S. Pirg

Safer Communities

What's New

Congress is deliberating over HR 2868 - the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 - legislation that would require the highest-risk chemical facilities to convert to feasible cost-effective safer alternatives.

The October 2009 expiration of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2006 gives the opportunity Congress to revisit and strengthen the CFATS standards and regulations.

These proposed changes would establish risk-based standards that require companies to move toward more secure chemicals or processes where feasible. The existing law currently bars the government from requiring the use of safer processes and exempts all 2,600 water facilities.

On June 16th Liz Hitchcock, US PIRG's Public Health advocate, provided testimony for the Homeland Security Committee's hearing on the bill, urging committee members to pass HR 2868 before the expiration of current CFATS program.

To protect citizens from toxic hazards in their communities, Congress should pass the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 to reduce the consequences of an accident or attack by replacing toxic chemicals with available and feasible safer alternatives.

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Overview

* According to the EPA, nearly 2,700 facilities endanger more than 10,000 people in the event of a catastrophe at the facility, either caused by an accident or a purposeful attack on the facility.

* 110 million Americans live in the shadow of catastrophic poison gas release from one of 300 chemical facilities. And as we saw with the 9/11 attacks, conventional fence-line security cannot prevent a successful attack and the devastating consequences.

* An attack or accident at one of these facilities would result in more casualties than 9/11 or the 1984 disaster at Union Carbide's Bhopal, India plant.

Safer more secure chemical processes already exist that can replace virtually all of these hazards.

* More than 200 water treatment facilities (including Washington, D.C.) have converted to safer alternatives such as ultraviolet light, eliminating the use of chlorine and sulfur dioxide gas. But over 100 water treatment plants still threaten more than 100,000 people.

* Ninety-eight petroleum refineries use safer alternatives to hydrogen fluoride (HF). But 50 refineries still threaten millions of people with the use of HF.

* At least 36 electric power plants use safer alternatives to anhydrous ammonia gas such as dry urea. But 166 power plants still use anhydrous ammonia gas each threatening an average of 21,506 people.

Related Articles, Reports and Resources

Congress Deliberating HR 2868 - the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009.

Chemical Security Legislation Clears Key House Subcommittee.

Chemical Security & Drinking Water Security Legislation Advances in House.

Map of the Nation’s 101 Most Dangerous Chemical Facilities. Millions at Risk.

Background Material on Chemical Terrorism, Security and Right-to-Know

Markey: Chemical Plants Must Take Common Sense Security Measures.

ATSDR Report on Chemical Terrorism and vulnerability of US Industrial plants.

Worst Case Scenario Terrorism and Toxic Chemical Accident.

Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds In Blocking Federal Security Regulations.

STATEMENT ON PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH AND HAZARD REDUCTION (Chemical plants, terrorism, and right-to-know).

ToxicRisk.com is a map-based website that enables users to investigate facilities listed in the EPA Toxic Release Inventory (TRI), number of schools within 1 mile and within 5 miles of the facility, plus links to a database about the toxic history of the facility.

A First Look At The 600K Report: Commercial Chemical Incidents In The United States, 1987 - 1996.

Chemical Plants Are Feared as Targets: Concerns grow that terrorists might hit toxic inventories.

<-- Chemical Terrorism and Security

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