AUGUST 3, 2007 - PRESIDENT SIGNS KEY SECURITY REFORMS INTO LAW

Provisions Negotiated by Rep. Markey Will Strengthen Air Cargo, Maritime Cargo, Rail, Whistleblower Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Homeland Security Committee, today applauded the work of the Congress to craft strong legislation to implement the recommendations of the independent 9/11 Commission, which President Bush signed into law this morning. The new law includes several key initiatives Rep. Markey has fought for over the last four years. Among those initiatives is a requirement to screen 100% of air cargo carried on passenger planes and screening and sealing of all ship containers before they reach U.S. ports.

“The new law which the president just signed will, more than three years after the release of the 9/11 Commission’s report, finally close key loopholes in our homeland security defenses. From ensuring that all the cargo loaded on passenger airplanes has undergone a physical inspection before it’s placed under the feet of innocent travelers, to setting a standard for 100 percent overseas maritime cargo screening within the next five years, this new law will help keep Americans safe in their daily lives. Passing this law is a major achievement for the new Congress, and I look forward to ensuring these new safeguards are fully and swiftly implemented,” said Rep. Markey.

Provisions in the final 9/11 bill based on Rep. Markey’s work include:

    • 100% screening of all air cargo carried on passenger planes within three years. For the first time, Congress is requiring that the billions of pounds of cargo carried on passenger planes will receive the same type of security scrutiny that is applied to passengers’ checked bags. This is a huge victory for the millions of passengers who fly every year, and for the pilots and the flight attendants, who are “first responders in the air” if there is a security problem onboard.

    • 100% overseas screening of maritime cargo destined for U.S. ports within five years. We know that Al Quaeda’s aim is to obtain a nuclear weapon and detonate it in our country. Failure to screen and seal all cargo overseas doesn’t just ‘miss the boat’ - it also could miss the bomb, with devastating consequences for our country. The new law will close this dangerous cargo loophole.

     • Re-routing of hazardous rail shipments around high-risk areas. Every day, tank cars pass through our urban centers carrying enough chlorine to kill 100,000 people in half an hour. These shipments of toxic chemicals are literally ‘Hell on Wheels’ rolling through our communities. The new law ensures that the safest and most secure route must be taken.

    • Help our nation’s first responders communicate during emergencies. When police, fire and emergency workers rushed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon almost 6 years ago, the lack of interoperability proved fatal for many of these brave Americans. The new law wisely puts the interoperability expert – the Director of the Office of Emergency Communications - in charge of ensuring interoperability.

    • New whistleblower protections for public transit and rail safety and security employees. When it comes to transportation systems, transit employees are our “eyes and ears”. The new law ensures that these modern-day Paul Reveres have recourse if they are retaliated against for pointing out a safety or security flaw.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2007

CONTACT: Jessica Schafer (Markey), 202.225.2836