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Chemical Security Laws Not Strong Enough, Former EPA Chief Worries

Posted By Industrial Injury Attorney || 18-Apr-2012

In an April 3 letter addressed to current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Lisa Jackson, former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman urged the organization to close loopholes in the current chemical security laws that could allow for the accidental or terror-related release of toxic chemicals. If they don't act soon, Whitman warned, they could face "a tragedy of historic proportions."

The current Department of Homeland Security (DHS) laws designed to prevent the release of toxic chemicals are, according to Whitman, "extremely limited." Presently, thousands of facilities that use dangerous chemicals in their daily operations are exempt from following specific security plans—all they must do is submit their personal security plans to DHS. The department can approve or reject the submitted plans, but cannot dictate specific changes, such as ordering a company to stop using the potentially deadly chemical chlorine in order to replace it with hypochlorite, a much safer substance.

To tighten control over these essentially unregulated facilities, Whitman believes the current EPA administration should invoke the Clean Air Act and force the estimated 4,458 high-risk facilities in the country to use safer technologies, improving both security and the health of the environment. As far back as 2003, the Government Accountability Office had concluded that the EPA could "interpret the Clean Air Act's general duty clause to address chemical facility security from terrorism," or the accidental release of toxic chemicals. Former homeland security advisor Bob Bostock, supporting Whitman's assertions, urges quick action. "In the absence of any legislative fix to this problem, (the EPA) should just go ahead and do it," he says.

When factories and plants work with unsecured dangerous chemicals, the situation puts their employees, surrounding neighbors and the entire country in danger. If you have been injured in an industrial setting, either because of contact with a dangerous chemical or for any other reason, you may be entitled to compensation with the help of an industrial injury lawyer. Our law firm has fought to secure settlements on behalf of injury victims in the past, and we are ready to assist with your industrial accident or industrial injury today. Contact an industrial injury attorney from Arnold & Itkin today for a free consultation regarding your case.

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