Greenpeace Analysis Sheds Light on Chemical Lobby

As real chemical security standards languish, a Greenpeace analysis of 2006 lobbying records today identified 215 industry lobbyists that spent an estimated $16.4 million – and possibly as much as $74.5 million – to defeat strong chemical plant security legislation. That is more than the $10 million the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spent on chemical security for the entire fiscal year of 2007 or the $25 million requested for chemical security by DHS for fiscal 2008.

The estimated range of $16.4 to $74.5 million available for chemical security lobbying represents 11 to 50 percent of the total reported lobbying expenditures of chemical industry and allied groups in 2006. This lobbying campaign successfully killed comprehensive chemical security legislation last year. The weak law in its place doesn't cover 3,000 water facilities using some of the most dangerous airborne chemicals, and doesn't give DHS the authority to mandate safer technologies that could virtually eliminate the threat.

"The resources devoted by these companies to undermining our nation's security and the safety of millions of people is appalling," said Rick Hind of Greenpeace. "Americans should be outraged, especially with the growing number of terrorist attacks in Iraq using chlorine gas and ominous new intelligence estimates of terrorist's ability to attack the U.S."

Greenpeace investigators worked from internal documents, public statements, testimony, news releases, industry lobby letters and e-mails, Freedom of Information Act document requests and web site postings by major chemical industry trade associations. They identified lobbyists representing 13 trade associations that included: the American Chemistry Council (ACC); American Petroleum Institute (API); U.S. Chamber of Commerce (including CEO Thomas Donahue) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI); their member companies such as Dow Chemical, ExxonMobil and Halliburton; and 13 lobby firms such as Akin Gump and Holland & Knight.

Thousands of chemical plants across the country present an almost incomprehensible vulnerability to terrorist attacks.  In 2004, the Homeland Security Council estimated that an attack on a single chlorine facility could kill 17,500 people, severely injure an additional 10,000 and result in 100,000 hospitalizations and 70,000 evacuations.  That same year, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory testified before the Washington, D.C. City Council that 100,000 people could be killed or injured in the first 30 minutes of a catastrophic release of a tank car of chlorine or similar chemical within blocks of Capitol Hill.

"Immediately following September 11, 2001, the Washington Post reported that 9/11 ringleader Mohamed Atta visited a Tennessee chemical plant asking lots of questions," said Hind.  "Safer chemicals are already on the market that can be used instead. That's what the law should require - but it doesn't. Now we know why."

Other contacts: Jane Kochersperger, (202) 319-2493; (202) 680-3798 cell

VVPR info: For the report and supporting documents, go to: http://research.greenpeaceusa.org/?a=collections&c=16

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