Biden Blasts Administration For Failing to Put Forth a Chemical Plant Security Plan
Outraged by the Bush Administration's failure to safeguard our nation's chemical plants, U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) today slammed Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Michael Chertoff for not developing standards to protect chemical plants nationwide. Biden called on DHS to help state and local officials protect chemical plants from terrorist attacks.
"Chemical plants are a top target for terrorists. Many of the nation's largest chemical facilities are located in places where a toxic release could injure or kill tens of thousands of people," said Biden. "The Department of Homeland Security should not abdicate responsibility for chemical plant security to the chemical industry. We should treat chemical plants like other vulnerable targets, such as nuclear power plants, by setting national standards for plant security and insuring, through rigorous inspection, that plants are adhering to them."
Secretary Chertoff announced yesterday that safeguarding chemical plants from terrorist attacks will primarily be left in the hands of the chemical industry, even though investigations clearly show that the industry is not prepared.
"The Bush Administration has consistently failed to take action on chemical plant security," said Biden. "And the Republican-controlled Congress has consistently blocked efforts to fund security enhancements around chemical facilities. I will continue to push for more dollars to protect our chemical facilities and for real security standards that will safeguard these chemical plants."
Earlier this year, Senator Biden introduced comprehensive legislation that would provide $70 million for grants to chemical plants to harden these facilities and strengthen local law enforcement's presence around chemical plants.