Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2007 13:38:02 -0800
Reply-To: Ron Rinehart <rrinehart**At_Symbol_Here**MPC.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: Ron Rinehart <rrinehart**At_Symbol_Here**MPC.EDU>
Subject: Re: Homeland Security Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards
In-Reply-To: <AC33A304-D740-421D-A84D-2EDCF8A62D1F**At_Symbol_Here**>

I hardly think this is merely a "public perception issue" -- a quick calculation indicates that 2499 lbs of Cl2 would be more than enough to bring a cubic kilometer of air over the 1 ppm PEL. A theft of 450 lbs could indeed lead to something pretty awful. Ron Ronald W. Rinehart, Ph.D. Chemistry Department Monterey Peninsula College 831-646-4152 mailto:rrinehart**At_Symbol_Here** -----Original Message----- From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Ralph Stuart Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2007 9:00 AM To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: [DCHAS-L] Homeland Security Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards If you haven't noticed, DHS released the Chemical Facility Antiterrorism Standards' Appendix A last week: The rules seems to have taken many of the comments from the laboratory community into account. But, there are public perception issues, as expressed in the New York Times: > > November 7, 2007 > Editorial > Chemical Industry 1, Public Safety 0 > Air travelers are asking for trouble if they show up for a flight with > 3.5 ounces of shampoo in their carry-on bags. But the Department of > Homeland Security has decided that the government should not even > trouble chemical plants to account for the storage of anything under > 2,500 pounds of deadly chlorine. The department's new rules on > reporting stockpiles of toxic chemicals, issued last week, have > certainly made the industry happy. They should make the public > worried. > > Chemical plants - and petroleum plants, paper mills and other > industrial facilities that use dangerous chemicals - are one of the > nation's greatest vulnerabilities. An attack on such a facility could > create a deadly chemical cloud that would put hundreds of thousands of > people in danger. Just consider the result of an accidental train > derailment in North Dakota in 2002 - a cloud of deadly chemicals > hundreds of feet high and several miles long - and magnify it by what > would happen if terrorists planned and carried out an attack in a > highly populated area. > > The government should be doing everything it can to guard against such > catastrophes. > > The Bush administration has shown repeatedly, however, that it does > not want to impose reasonable safety requirements on chemical plants. > That may have to do with its general opposition to regulations, or it > could be connected to the enormous amount of money the chemical > industry spends on lobbying and campaign contributions. The industry > does not want to bear the expense of serious safety rules, and it > fights them furiously. In a recent study, Greenpeace reported that the > chemical industry spent more money in a year lobbying to defeat strong > chemical plant legislation than the Department of Homeland Security > spent on chemical plant security. > > The rules the department issued last week are far too lax about when > facilities need to report stockpiles of chemicals like chlorine, > fluorine and hydrogen fluoride to the government. According to the new > rules, which watered-down proposed rules that the department had > released in April, a chemical plant does not have to report the > storage of 2,499 pounds of chlorine, even if it is located in a > populated area - or across from an elementary school. > > If 450 pounds of chlorine are stolen, enough to cause mass casualties, > the theft need not be reported. Chlorine has been used by insurgents > in Iraq, and it is high on the list of chemicals that should be kept > out of terrorists' hands. > > It is troubling that these industry-friendly rules were developed in > part by Department of Homeland Security employees who previously > worked for the chemical industry - and who may one day work for it > again. Rick Hind, the legislative director of the Greenpeace Toxics > Campaign, contends that such employees have had an "undue influence." > The department says it draws on former chemical industry workers > simply because of their "relevant prior experience." > > Bennie Thompson, the Mississippi Democrat who is chairman of the House > Homeland Security Committee, has rightly compared the chemical storage > rules to "putting a Band-Aid on a broken leg." Congress needs to step > in now and pass a strong new chemical plant law - one that puts more > weight on the safety of the public and less on industry's bottom line. > > > >

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