Who’s Hijacking Chemical Security?

by John Deans

June 21, 2011

Want to know why almost 10 years after 9/11, at least a third of the nation still lives with the danger of a poison gas attack?

Unfortunately, there are large corporate profits tied to keeping you at risk of a chemical disaster. Hundreds of chemical and oil companies operate facilities with ultra-hazardous and obsolete chemical processes that put major cities at risk. These companies, their trade associations, lobbyists and congressional allies have spent millions to block passage of comprehensive chemical security legislation that would safeguard chemical facilities from being used as weapons of mass destruction. We can no longer tolerate the political grandstanding and industry half-truths that have hijacked the conversation surrounding comprehensive chemical security laws.

Dangerous chemical plants, oil refineries, and other facilities put more than 100 million Americans at risk of a poison gas disaster, even though companies could be using safer alternatives. At some especially dangerous facilities, an accident or a terrorist attack that led to a catastrophic release of poison gases like chlorine gas or hydrofluoric acid could threaten millions of people with injury and death.

Comprehensive chemical security legislation would help protect communities from a poison gas disaster by closing loopholes in the Department of Homeland Security’s Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) and requiring the use of safer alternatives where feasible. But ten years after 9/11, Congress still hasn’t acted to protect Americans, because some chemical industry lobbyists, corporate CEOs, and politicians have blocked legislation that would eliminate these chemical weapons of mass destruction from our communities.

Greenpeace activists today sent the message to Congress with a demonstration at the Capitol building: “Stop Hijacking Chemical Security.” Congress, it’s time to pass comprehensive chemical security legislation that focuses on disaster prevention—further delay is unacceptable.

In 2006 then Senator Obama warned, “We cannot allow chemical industry lobbyists to dictate the terms of this debate. We cannot allow our security to be hijacked by corporate interests.”

Over the next few months, we’re going to expose the people responsible for keeping Americans at risk of a poison gas disaster. These villains are the Chemical Security Hijackers.

John Deans

By John Deans

As a former Arctic Campaigner, John worked with lawmakers, coalition partners, activists, and the media in Greenpeace's efforts to protect the Arctic from the dangers of industrial activity.

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.