Markey requirements for use of Inherently Safer Technology part of subcommittee-passed legislation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), a senior member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, today welcomed the adoption of common sense protections at high-risk chemical facilities during subcommittee consideration of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Act of 2008. The provisions Rep. Markey championed require that high-risk chemical facilities use methods to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack, as well as protecting chemical industry whistleblowers from retaliation if they disclose chemical security weaknesses.

Rep. Markey said, "There are nightclubs in New York City that are tougher to get into than some of our chemical facilities. Reducing the impact of a terrorist attack on high risk chemical plants is one of the most important responsibilities of this committee.  It's time that we force high-risk chemical facilities to use every option available to reduce the consequences of a terrorist attack on the communities surrounding them."

Markey's language requires that all chemical facilities include an examination of the use of Inherently Safer Technologies (IST) to reduce the consequences of an attack on their facility as part of their facility security plan. The use of IST means taking steps to reduce the fundamental dangers at a facility - i.e., by eliminating, reducing or altering the use of dangerous chemicals on a site, the site itself will be less likely to be a terrorist target. High-risk chemical facilities would be required to implement feasible IST solutions.

The whistleblower protections for chemical facility employees are similar to protections for public transit and rail safety and security employees that Rep. Markey inserted into the 9/11 Commission Recommendations bill which was signed into law last year. The protections ensure that any whistleblowers have recourse if they are retaliated against for pointing out a safety or security flaw.

January 23, 2008

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