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Pallone Lauds House Committee and Administration for Moving Forward on Chemical Security

Location: Washington, DC

June 15, 2005

U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the author of the Chemical Security Act, issued the following statement today lauding the Bush administration's decision to finally support mandatory legislative measures to keep our chemical facilities safe.

"I applaud the House Homeland Security Committee for today taking a long-overdue look at chemical plant security. This is one of the most critical public safety issues in many parts of the country, especially New Jersey, and we have waited far too long already to see congressional action.

"I'm also pleased the Bush administration has finally recognized the industry's voluntary efforts do not go far enough to protect our citizens from the consequences of a terrorist attack on a chemical plant. It's time to move ahead on rigorous, comprehensive chemical security legislation such as the Chemical Security Act, which I introduced this May.

"It is also time for the House Energy and Commerce Committee, of which I am a member, to move forward and take action on this issue as well, since that committee has jurisdiction over the regulation of chemical facilities.

"I hope today is just the first step in a strong effort to protect our communities from the threat of a chemical plant attack. This issue is just too important for Congress to continue to drag its feet."

The New Jersey congressman's Chemical Security Act (H.R. 2237) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Homeland Security to work together to identify "high priority" chemical facilities. Once identified, these facilities would be required to assess vulnerabilities and hazards, and then develop and implement a plan to improve security and use safer technologies within 18 months.

Pallone's legislation would use several factors to identify high priority facilities, including: the severity of harm that could be caused by a release, proximity to population centers, threats to national security or critical infrastructure, threshold quantities of substances of concern that pose a serious threat, and other safety factors that the EPA Administrator considers appropriate.

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