Chertoff, Senators Presented with ‘Run for Your Life’ Sneakers
WHAT: Greenpeace will present Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, and members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee with sneakers to illustrate the vulnerability of Americans living near chemical facilities. The sneakers will be delivered in red boxes with plexiglass covers reading: "In case of emergency, break glass.
WHY: Four and a half years after the terrorist attacks of September 11th, Americans would be surprised to learn that their best form of protection may be their sneakers. Millions of Americans are at risk because of government inaction to address the vulnerability of chemical facilities. You will have no protection from a chlorine gas cloud emitted by a chemical facility unless you can run a seven-minute mile. According to the chemical industry's own estimates, a chlorine gas cloud can drift through a city at seven mph - the approximate qualifying speed for the Boston Marathon - and remain dangerous for 14 miles.
As late as 2005, the former Deputy Homeland Security advisor to the President stated that the government had taken no action to reduce terrorist risks to chemical facilities in the U.S. and that it should be a number one priority. Of the more than 3,400 high priority facilities that each put 1,000 people or more at risk in the U.S., only 225 have switched to safe technologies.
On June 14th, Members of Congress will have an opportunity to significantly increase public safety by voting to support Senator Lautenberg's (D-NJ) legislation (S.2486) requiring that high-risk chemical facilities convert to safe and cost-effective technologies and eliminate the risk of terrorist attack. In March, Secretary Chertoff opposed this legislation at a forum sponsored by the chemical industry.
WHEN: 9:50 - 11:00 a.m.
WHERE: Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 342, U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, National Emergency Management: Getting the Structure Right
Greenpeace toxics experts are available for interview.
Photos will be available at: http://usaphoto.greenpeace.org/chemical_security_public_safety
CONTACT: Jane Kochersperger, (202) 319-2493; (202) 415-5477, cell