Failed inspection report

Facility places 12 million people in vulnerability zone

Feature story - June 22, 2010
Following a citizen inspection of the highest risk chemical facility in the U.S., Greenpeace issued a ‘failed inspection’ report to the Kuehne Chemical Co., Inc. of South Kearney, NJ. The inspection results show that 12 million people in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area are at risk due to the storage of up to 2 million pounds of chlorine gas at one facility.

This is the third in a series of citizen inspections of high-risk chemical facilities. Greenpeace is conducting inspections to determine whether high-risk facilities have adopted measures to prevent a potential chemical disaster. The first inspections were announced on May 21st at two DuPont facilities in Delaware and New Jersey.

Keuhne Plant

Hidden dangers

Everyday we face life-threatening dangers; car accidents, diseases, but what about the dangers that you don't even think about? The Department of Homeland Security has identified over 5,300 "high-risk" chemical plants in the United States, Just 300 of which put 110 million Americans at risk.

There ARE safer alternatives

It's not as if Keuhne is ignorant of the risks that their plant poses; they are well aware of safer chemical processes that could eliminate the chance of an accident occurring. More than 287 other chemical plants have already switched to safer processes over the last ten years. This action has eliminated catastrophic risks to 38 million Americans, and yet the highest risk chemical plant in the country

What is there to gain from lobbying against safety?

Since 9/11 the Department of Homeland Security has advised chemical facilities that the magnitude of a terrorist attack may well be "more severe" than the "worst case" accident scenarios reported by Kuehne and other companies to the EPA. The failed terrorist car bomb in New York City's Times Square on May 1st and the June 7th arrests of terror suspects in New Jersey have spurred a renewed concern for terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

After September 11th, chemical industry lobbyists, including Dow, DuPont, BP and Exxon have blocked strong legislation. Greenpeace identified 169 lobbyists registered to keep Congress from enacting a strong chemical security law. Kuehne is a member of the largest lobbying association of the chemical industry, the American Chemistry Council (ACC). The ACC opposed requirements to use safer chemical process proposed in the bill (H.R. 2868) that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in November, 2009. In a letter to Kuehne in 2003, Greenpeace urged them to break away from the ACC and support policies now in passed bill.

Now that the bill has passed in the House, it's time for the Senate to do the same. You can help by taking action and telling your Senators to prevent a toxic nightmare in your community by co-sponsoring and voting for the "Secure Chemical and Water Facilities Act."

Failed Security Inspections

In the meantime Homeland Security has announced that they are planning on inspecting all 5,333 "high-risk" plants in the U.S. However, they admitted during a Senate hearing that they would only be inspecting about 4% of plants by the end of 2010. So, Greenpeace stepped up inspected Kuehne facilities ourselves, and the plant was awarded a failing a grade. No amount of fencing, cameras, or gatekeepers can eliminate the incredibly risks of the facility posed by the bulk storage of such a dangerous chemical.

Risk Assessment:

Vulnerability Zone: Jersey City, New York City, Newark International Airport, LaGuardia Airport

Vulnerability Population: 12,000,000

Worst-Case-Scenario For One Of Many Onsite Rail Cars:

• One 90-ton railcar can release of 180,000 lbs. chlorine gas

• 14-mile radius of downwind vulnerability zone

• 11 rail cars can be on site. True worst-case-scenario is release 2 million lbs. of chlorine gas

Accident History 2000-2010: 10 chlorine release incidents


Take action

Prevent a toxic nightmare in your community!