29 August 2002 20:32 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not responded to a congressional request to cite its legal authority to require chemical plants to assess their vulnerability to potential terrorist attack, a House of Representatives staff member told CNI Thursday.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Billy Tauzin of Louisiana had asked EPA to reply by 21 August, but the agency did not, according to the aide.
An EPA spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Tauzin has questioned whether the EPA has authority under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to order facilities that manufacture or store certain amounts of hazardous chemicals to conduct vulnerability assessments.
Although EPA believes it has sufficient statutory authority to impose such a rule, which has been disputed by other US agencies and members of Congress.
Tauzin requested that the EPA provide any records documenting its existing authority.
He has also asked the US Department of Justice to provide a legal opinion regarding EPA's authority to issue mandatory chemical plant security regulations.
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