Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) sent a letter today to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson expressing concern over a recent agency announcement that could compromise sensitive information and make U.S. chemical manufacturing facilities more susceptible to terrorist attacks.
The members voiced their strong opposition to EPA's decision to re-establish internet access to manufacturers' non-Off-site Consequence Analysis sections of the Risk Management Plan database, sections which contain lists of covered chemicals used, preventative measures in place, and the location in a plant where those chemicals are used. Upton and Shimkus asked Administrator Jackson to reverse the decision to ensure American families remain protected against the threat of terrorist attacks.
"With the growth of several internet-search engine-based mapping tools, the information you propose to publish can constitute a virtual terrorist roadmap into a chemical facility, triggering devastating consequences. This is why EPA decided to remove all Risk Management Plan data from the Agency website in the fall of 2001. Common sense dictates that this information must be restricted from Internet access and maintained under the current administrative access controls
"We are shocked that EPA would seek to reverse hard-fought anti-terrorism gains made over the last decade by disregarding the compelling need to not globally disseminate this information. Terrorists already have enough weapons. We need not turn this highly sensitive information into one more weapon in their arsenal. We urge you to reverse the decision announced by EPA's Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and keep non-OCA information off the Internet," wrote Upton and Shimkus.