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Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds In Blocking Federal Security Regulations
Fair Use Statement

<-- Return To TerrorSpeak
<-- Return To Right-To-Know or Left-To-Wonder?

See Also:
Worst Case Scenarios: Terrorism & Industrial Chemicals
Worst case scenario and risk management plan background
The Ruse of Terrorism and our Right-To-Know, Part I
Environmental Patriot Act? Terrorism, Patriotism, and Environmental Law.

Source: Common Cause

What follows is a brief excerpt and press release from "Chemical Reaction: Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds in Blocking Federal Security Regulations" by Common Cause, January 27, 2003. I've also provided links to some recommended books that demonstrate the lengths that industry will go to fight disclosure and accountability.

This report demonstrates why we cannot depend on the chemical industry or regulators to protect us from chemical catastrophes. It is now more clear than ever that we need MORE Right-To-Know and MORE public disclosure about the risks posed by toxic chemicals, not less, if we are to protect the communities where we work, live and play.

We, the people who live in these communities, armed with this information, are the only ones who can apply the pressure and provide the oversight to make sure that the chemical industry and our regulators to do the right thing to reduce the threats.

Click here to download a copy of Chemical Reaction: Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds in Blocking Federal Security Regulations. (123K PDF format)

Excerpt from Chemical Reaction: Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds in Blocking Federal Security Regulations

The chemical industry has been able to evade federal regulation despite long-standing evidence that chemical plants are a prime target for terrorists and pose a significant security risk:

The first legislative effort to secure the nation’s chemical facilities and stockpiles from terrorist attack began just six weeks after the September 11 attacks. On October 31, 2001, Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ) introduced the Chemical Security Act of 2001. The bill’s aim was to make the approximately 15,000 sites across the country where hazardous chemicals are produced or stored more secure from a terrorist attack. The bill would have:

  • Given the EPA one year to issue regulations that designated “high-priority” chemicals “based on the severity of the threat posed by an accidental release or criminal release from the chemical sources;”

  • Required chemical companies to determine the vulnerability of their facilities to a terrorist attack, identify hazards that could be caused by a chemical release, and develop a prevention and response plan that incorporated the results of those assessments. Those businesses that failed to meet the bill’s mandates could have been fined up to $25,000 per day for each violation,

  • And required chemical manufacturers, utilities, water treatment plant operators, and the owners of any facilities where hazardous chemicals were produced or stored -- not only to increase security but also to replace hazardous chemicals with chemicals that would cause less damage if the target of a terrorist attack. In certain cases, chemical safety would have required, in the words of the legislation, “changing production methods and processes and employing inherently safer technologies in the manufacture, transport and use of chemicals.”

This bill was blocked by the chemical industry and never passed. Click here to download a copy of Chemical Reaction: Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds in Blocking Federal Security Regulations


Common Cause
Press Release
For Immediate Release
Jan. 27, 2003

Contact: Mary Boyle
(202) 736-5770

Despite terrorism threat, chemical industry succeeds in blocking federal security regulations

Despite serious concerns that U.S. chemical plants could be targets for terrorists, the chemical industry has successfully blocked legislation that would mandate more stringent security rules for chemical manufacturers and others. Helping the industry in its fight against this legislation was its long history of political giving and lobbying – more than $80 million spent since 1995, according to a new report by the Common Cause Education Fund.

“Big campaign contributions seemed to have trumped the compelling need for public safety,” said Don Simon, acting president of Common Cause. “It’s incredible that security for plants that store and produce deadly chemicals remains solely in the hands of the chemical industry, without strong and comprehensive federal oversight.”

Following the September 11 attacks, the Environmental Protection Agency warned that 123 chemical plants across the country each contained enough toxic chemicals to kill or injure 1 million people, if the facility were attacked by terrorists, and that another 750 facilities could each threaten more than 100,000 people.

Sen. John Corzine (D-N.J) introduced legislation aimed at making more secure chemical sites nationwide. A Senate committee unanimously approved his bill before the main trade group of the chemical industry, the American Chemistry Council (ACC), swung into action to block it. Fearing that the Corzine legislation could mean costly changes for the industry, the ACC successfully lobbied GOP Senate leaders to keep the bill from a vote on the floor.

To this day, neither Congress, nor the White House, nor any federal agency has been successful in closing this huge hole in homeland security.

The Common Cause Educational Fund has taken a close look at the path of the Corzine bill, and tracked the political contributions made by the ACC and its members, including chemical giants and major oil companies. Common Cause has found:

  • During the summer of 2002, when the industry was actively fighting the Corzine bill, ACC members gave more than $1 million in political contributions, most of it to Republicans.

  • Eight senators who were critical of the Corzine bill have received more than $850,000 from the ACC and its member companies.

  • Fred Webber, who headed the ACC until recently, was one of President Bush’s “pioneers” who raised at least $100,000 for Bush’s presidential run in 2000.

Click here to download a copy of Chemical Reaction: Despite Terrorism Threat, Chemical Industry Succeeds in Blocking Federal Security Regulations. (123K PDF format)

See Also:
Worst Case Scenarios: Terrorism & Industrial Chemicals
Worst case scenario and risk management plan background
The Ruse of Terrorism and our Right-To-Know, Part I
Environmental Patriot Act? Terrorism, Patriotism, and Environmental Law.

Recommended Reading:
Five Past Midnight in Bhopal by Dominique Lapierre, Javier Moro - Recounts the 1984 Union Carbide chemical disaster.
When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution by Devra Lee Davis.
Deceit and Denial: The Deadly Politics of Industrial Pollution by Gerald E. Markowitz, David Rosner. Reviews.
Fatal Deception: The Untold Story of Asbestos - Why It Is Still Legal and Still Killing Us by Michael Bowker.
Trust Us, We're Experts: How Industry Manipulates Science and Gambles With Your Future by Sheldon Rampton, John Stauber. Review.
Toxic Deception: How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law and Endangers Your Health by Dan Fagin and Marianne Lavelle. Review.

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<-- Return To Right-To-Know or Left-To-Wonder?

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