Sickened by slack lawmakers? Nauseated by nonsense laws? Disgusted by lobbyists making policy?

June 29, 2011

WASHINGTON - Greenpeace preempted today's Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) vote, handing out air sickness bags to Senators, Committee staff and attendees. One side of the bags has a graphic reminiscent of the Mr. Yuck warning, the other side of the bag warns: "If this legislation nauseates you, just imagine you are within a few miles of a chlorine gas release" followed by a description of the acute health effects of chlorine gas and a warning that the bill being voted on, S. 473 "will do nothing to prevent a terrorist or accidental release of chlorine gas."

In 2003 the U.S. Navy Research Laboratory estimated that such a poison gas disaster could kill or injure 100,000 people within the first 30 minutes of an attack or accident. Many will die a horrible death drowning in their own lung fluid. “The day after such a tragedy no one will say we shouldn't have required chemical plants to use safer chemical processes but they will ask who were the people that let this happen,” said Rick Hind, legislative director of Greenpeace.

In a letter handed to Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) in an airline sickness bag, Greenpeace wrote, “We urge you to disengage from this hijacking by the petro-chemical industry. Support legislation that reflects the lessons of 9/11 and truly protects the millions at risk, not the few who create the risks."

“Even though there are many more high risk chemical plants in California than in Maine, Senator Collins has a solemn duty to protect all Americans who live in the poison gas danger zones surrounding these plants.  That responsibility extends to the protection of employees who work at the plants, the first responders and health professionals who respond to disasters, those who ship dangerous chemicals around the country and the millions who live along chemical transportation routes,” said Hind.

“Unfortunately the bill Senator Collins is championing today abrogates that responsibility. Instead it perpetuates the hijacking of bold, 9/11-inspired legislation that was perverted into a 2006 do-nothing law riddled with loopholes to cater to a narrow segment of industry.”

“Many - even those working on Capitol Hill - have been nauseated by a process that seems to be waiting for a chemical disaster to happen before Congress will take any action to actually prevent it,” Mr Hind said.

The HSGAC was gearing up to pass S. 473, Collins’ petro-chemical industry backed bill that extends a 740 word temporary law, and does little to prevent chemical disasters for the 110 million Americans who live down wind of 300 high risk plants.

Greenpeace letter to Senator Collins:

For comment or further information, contact Keiller MacDuff 202 679 2236

We Need Your Voice Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.