28 June 2004 17:17 [Source: ICIS news]
PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (CNI)--US federal and state officials urged chemical industry security officials meeting here Monday to partner with them to prevent terrorist attacks on chemical facilities.
In the opening session of the second annual Chemical Security Summit (CSS) here, Al Martinez-Fonts, special assistant for the private sector at the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said the chemical industry has been one of the leading industrial sectors in developing security plans to prevent terrorist attacks on US soil.
Chemical plants are believed by federal and state authorities to be high-priority targets for possible terrorist attack because of the potential for high civilian casualties downwind of an attacked plant or storage site.
Martinez-Fonts, a former banker, warned that vigilance in the chemical industry must not be confined to physical assets but must also include cyber threats.
"A few lines of code can reek just as much havoc as a handful of dynamite," he told the gathering.
He assured industry executives that DHS "will not micromanage or enforce from ?xml:namespace>
He said there is no credible evidence that attacks are planned against the upcoming
"We have to out-plan and out-coordinate the terrorists," Martinez-Fonts said. "These are smart people and they are intent on killing us."
Keith Martin, director of
In addition, he said, "The medical community needs to know what's inside your facility in order to treat people if something happens.”
"The country depends greatly on your efforts and your products," Martin said. "Remember, the threat is outside the fence."
Joe Acker, president of the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (SOCMA), CSS co-sponsor along with the American Chemistry Council (ACC), said the industry is not waiting for a legislative mandate to establish security guidelines.
"We need the government's help and they need ours," Acker said. "Neither of us can do the job in a vacuum."
About 250 chemical industry executives are attending this year’s CSS. The conference continues through Tuesday.
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