13 July 2005 18:33 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Key senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee indicated on Wednesday they intend to push chemical plant security legislation.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have told the committee that current laws are insufficient and the panel is expected to draft legislation this year. The committee held a hearing on Wednesday regarding the federal government's role in chemical plant security.
Senator Susan Collins (Republican - ?xml:namespace>
Senator Collins said
She said although many plants have improved their security, some through the American Chemistry Council's (ACC) Responsible Care program, "unfortunately not all companies abide by such codes of conduct."
Senator Joe Lieberman (Democrat -
"And even though the most recent incident was an attack on
The senator said he was concerned that state and local authorities lack the resources to help chemical facilities improve security in the area outside their gates and the resources to respond in the event of an accident or an attack.
"I also am concerned that too many citizens who live near chemical facilities have not been adequately prepared or informed about what to do if there is a breach at a chemical facility," Lieberman said.
He said the most difficult question facing the committee is how to define and regulate security and that some think that should go beyond physical security measures to alternative technologies to reduce the amount of harmful chemicals used.
"I know there is great disagreement about whether these issues should be addressed in chemical security legislation, but there should be no disagreement about the need to make our chemical processes as safe as possible," Lieberman said.
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