Newsroom: Press Releases
Lautenberg Introduces Bills to Protect Chemical and Water Plants Nationwide
Lautenberg Press Office, 202-224-3224
Thursday, July 15, 2010WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a comprehensive legislative package that would help to prevent debilitating terrorist attacks at America’s chemical, drinking water, and wastewater facilities. This legislation requires plants to assess their vulnerability and develop plans to address those vulnerabilities, and requires the highest-risk facilities to put in place Inherently Safer Technology (IST) to increase public and environmental safety.
“This legislation would close a gap that leaves millions of families vulnerable to an attack on America’s chemical plants and water treatment facilities,” Lautenberg said. “Terrorism experts identified chemical and water plants as one of the top risks to our nation following the September 11th attacks. When companies use chemicals that put thousands of lives at risk, it is essential that they find safer ways to do business. This is common-sense legislation that would ensure a thorough review of risk, and help us move toward more secure plants and safer communities.”
The Secure Water Facilities Act and Secure Chemical Facilities Act would require changes for the highest-risk facilities, preventing undue burdens on small, low-risk facilities while protecting against the greatest threats. Some of the changes that can be implemented at water and chemical plants include reducing the amount of lethal gases stored on-site or minimizing the use of dangerous chlorine gas.
The bills would:
According to the Congressional Research Service, hundreds of facilities pose risks to millions of Americans:
Since 2001, hundreds of chemical and water facilities have already switched to safer and more secure chemicals or processes, eliminating risks to millions of people. A recent survey by the Center for American Progress identified 554 drinking water and wastewater plants in 47 states that have increased security by replacing extremely hazardous substances with safer chemicals or processes, eliminating risk to 40 million people. However, companies are not required to consider these alternatives, and therefore many have not. Lautenberg’s legislative package would build on these achievements and increase safety at both chemical and water facilities nationwide.
The bills are endorsed by a broad coalition of 88 environmental, health, and labor groups.
Similar legislation, the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2868, was approved in the U.S. House of Representatives on November 6, 2009.