2009 Scorecard Vote
After the September 11th attacks, chemical plants were recognized as one of the sectors most vulnerable to terrorism. According to the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, an attack on a chemical facility in a major U.S. city could result in 100,000 casualties. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, 110 million Americans live in vulnerability zones surrounding 300 chemical facilities.
Since 2001, more than 200 facilities switched to safer chemical processes, eliminating themselves as targets and reducing the risk posed to millions of Americans. Yet more than 6,000 chemical facilities have been designated as "high risk" by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). In 2006 Congress enacted a temporary law championed by the chemical lobby barring the DHS from requiring the use of safer chemical processes and exempting thousands of water treatment plants and port facilities. That law is set to expire on October 4, 2010.
In 2009, Representatives Thompson (D-MS), Waxman (D-CA), and Oberstar (D-MN) co-authored a compromise bill, the Chemical and Water Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2868). H.R. 2868 authorizes the DHS and the EPA to set comprehensive security standards for all chemical facilities, requiring each plant to evaluate safer available processes and highest risk plants to use safer processes, if they are feasible and cost-effective.
On November 6, the House passed H.R. 2868 by a vote of 230-193 (House roll call vote 875). YES IS THE PRO-ENVIRONMENT VOTE. The Senate did not act on companion legislation in 2009.