Please make a call now! House Dems are considering inserting loopholes into their own bill.

by Rick Hind

June 18, 2009

Tomorrow, Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee will consider inserting loopholes into their own bill on behalf of the chemical industry. If adopted, these amendments will gut the Chemical Facilities Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868).

In particular, these amendments will tie the hands of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), perpetuate disastrous risks to communities and employees, and burden business and government with redundant studies. In addition, they could also exempt many of the highest-risk plants in the country — roughly one hundred plants, each of which puts over 1 million Americans at risk — from the best security measures. Read more here.

We don’t need more loopholes and inaction, we need a law that protects the 110 million Americans who are still at risk because the existing law ties the hands of the DHS. These amendments would only serve to continue tying the hands of the folks whose job it is to protect the American public, which is why we are trying to make sure they do not pass.

We the people can speak up and demand strong chemical security legislation without loopholes that favor industry. If you can call members of Congress on this committee ASAP, tonight or first thing in the morning tomorrow, it will really help. Just follow these steps:

  1. Call (202) 225-3121, the House switchboard.
  2. All of the members of these Homeland Security Committee members need to hear from us: Dent (R-PA), King (R-NY) and Lungren (R-CA), Pascrell (D-NJ), Carney (D-PA), Richardson (D-CA), Clarke (D-NY), Cleaver (D-MO), DeFazio (D-OR), Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Sanches (D-CA), Thompson (D-MS). Pick one and ask the operator to be put through to their office. If you’re actually a constituent of one of these Reps, all the better. Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) is among the lead sponsors of the loophole amendments, so if you’re not a constituent of one of the Reps, he’d be a good one to call.
  3. A staffer will pick up. Tell them you’re calling to give the Rep. a message. Here’s a script you can use:

    I’m calling to urge the Rep. to support a strong chemical security bill by voting against dangerous loopholes proposed for H.R. 2868, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2009. We need a law that protects the 110 million Americans who are still at risk due to the fact that the existing law ties the hands of Homeland Security, and these amendements would only continue to do so.

Thanks in advance for making a call. It’s very important that we speak up and make our voices heard. The members of the House of Representatives were elected by us to represent us, not the chemical industry. That’s why it’s so important that they hear from us.

Rick Hind

By Rick Hind

Rick is the legislative director at Greenpeace USA. Since he joined the organization in 1991, he is a go-to source for journalists covering toxics and chemical security issues. He has been quoted in a wide range of national publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, CBS News, NPR, FOX, and many more.

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