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Lautenberg Chemical Security Provision Becomes Law
Provision Blocks Bush Administration from Nullifying Laws Like New Jersey's to Protect Chemical Facilities from Terrorist Attack
Press Office (202) 224-3224
Thursday, December 27,
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A provision authored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) to block the Bush Administration from preempting state chemical security laws was signed by President Bush into law yesterday.
“States can now protect their residents from chemical attacks,” said Sen. Lautenberg. “My provision is essential to all states, especially New Jersey, which has the strongest chemical security laws in the nation. We fought back special interests in Washington and the Bush Administration to preserve the right of states to protect themselves from an attack on their chemical facilities -- and we won.”
The "Lautenberg language" on chemical security overcame a vigorous campaign from the Bush Administration and its allies who fought the ability of states to enact stronger laws than the federal government. The measure was included in an omnibus appropriations bill jointly negotiated by the Senate and House and signed by the President yesterday.
The co-chairs of the September 11th Commission, former Gov. Tom Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton, joined the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, and others in support of the Lautenberg chemical security provision.
In April, the Bush Administration issued regulations attempting to preempt state and local governments from adopting stronger chemical security protections than those adopted by the Department of Homeland Security. New Jersey has the strongest chemical security laws in the nation. The Lautenberg language in the bill preserves states' rights to craft stronger chemical security laws than the federal government if they deem those laws necessary to protect their residents.
The provision passed the Senate as part of the FY 2008 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations bill in July. It was included in the omnibus appropriations bill, which was approved by both the House and Senate. The President signed the bill yesterday.
Lautenberg wrote Congress' first chemical security bill in 1999 and is a long-time advocate for improved chemical security.
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